WISDOM OF THE KRAUT

Gender or gender not

Tobias Burkhardt on Gender and language

Gender, or gender not? That is the question. In times when reactionary slogans and anger battles dominate the discussion, it is time to halt and think about gender and language before shouting out loud. I believe a constructive discussion of the topic is more than overdue. I’m not part of any (public) institution nor do I have any political agenda. So, as an entrepreneur, I can simply decide for myself if I want to gender or not and how to do it. Period.

And here is how I choose to do it. As a leadership trainer, I am shown every day how language shapes behavior and thus also cultures. If you want real change, you have to take language into account.

For this reason, I gender out of full conviction. Not always with asterisks, but with a lot of alternation between he and she (as it is now standard in many English-language publications) and with the full scope our languages have to offer. It’s not perfect, but it works, and if you don’t like it, you don’t need to read or listen to it . It’s all about perception – as it always is in any transformational setting. Only when I perceive that there is a problem (and inequality and lack of diversity is a great problem to me), I am willing to work to solve this problem. End of message. cto

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