Title

"Portavoces y Portavozas": Examining the relationship between grammatical and personal gender in the Spanish-speaking workforce

Presenter Information

Mary WeatherspoonFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Sociology/Spanish

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Martin Kane

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Grammatical gender has long been considered unequal regarding its treatment of personal gender. Scholars have examined the possibility that this is an innate quality of grammatical gender (Prewitt-Freilino et al. 278), and others have found that it creates a male bias (Sato et al.). The issue is still highly controversial; Spanish examples of contended terms that have appeared in the media over the past two decades are “árbitra,” “miembra,” and “portavoza.” This project relies on scholarship and the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española to inform my own research on the subject. I examine the usage of several occupational nouns in Mexico and Spain in the context of the workforce, and compare the two as a way of showing how the use of grammatical gender has developed over time. I search for a few different jobs using Indeed.com specific to the respective countries, and I record the gender of the occupational noun used in the title of the job listing. The results show distinct differences between the two countries. With Spanish occupational nouns, grammatical gender denotes the gender of the person to whom the noun refers. Using the masculine form as both masculine and gender neutral contributes to stereotypes surrounding which jobs are appropriate for which gender, and inherently advantages men over other genders. This is a precedent that was set by the DRAE in decades past (DeMello 392), and one whose influence is apparent in my findings.

Fall Scholars Week 2018 Event

GLT 400

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"Portavoces y Portavozas": Examining the relationship between grammatical and personal gender in the Spanish-speaking workforce

Grammatical gender has long been considered unequal regarding its treatment of personal gender. Scholars have examined the possibility that this is an innate quality of grammatical gender (Prewitt-Freilino et al. 278), and others have found that it creates a male bias (Sato et al.). The issue is still highly controversial; Spanish examples of contended terms that have appeared in the media over the past two decades are “árbitra,” “miembra,” and “portavoza.” This project relies on scholarship and the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española to inform my own research on the subject. I examine the usage of several occupational nouns in Mexico and Spain in the context of the workforce, and compare the two as a way of showing how the use of grammatical gender has developed over time. I search for a few different jobs using Indeed.com specific to the respective countries, and I record the gender of the occupational noun used in the title of the job listing. The results show distinct differences between the two countries. With Spanish occupational nouns, grammatical gender denotes the gender of the person to whom the noun refers. Using the masculine form as both masculine and gender neutral contributes to stereotypes surrounding which jobs are appropriate for which gender, and inherently advantages men over other genders. This is a precedent that was set by the DRAE in decades past (DeMello 392), and one whose influence is apparent in my findings.