Leontien Rutenfrans

Marketing Manager Textmetrics
May 30, 2024

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Increase Diversity with Gender Neutral Vacancy Texts | Importance & Tips

The year 2022 marked the 23rd year in a row that more women than men attended college or university in the Netherlands. This was revealed in a CBS study they published on International Women’s Day 2023 (March 8). This also showed that at the time, the number of women in the group of highly educated twenty-five to thirty-five year olds was almost 10% higher than the number of men.
This article is not just about the highly educated. It’s mostly about women being serious candidates for your job openings. So don’t scare them off with the wrong choice of words. Rather, choose gender-neutral language.


Gender stereotypes

In the nineteenth century, the Brontë sisters felt compelled to publish their prose and poetry under a male pseudonym. After all, from a woman, themes of passion, jealousy and madness would never be accepted. In contrast, Jane Austen deliberately chose her pseudonym “A lady” when she first published Pride and Prejudice, a novel about marriage in better circles. This was par excellence the domain and perception of a woman.
In the book world, fortunately, these stereotypes are no longer in force. There are women who write crime series and men who write about flower arranging and knitting.


How does gender-bias arise in AIs?

While you might expect an AI to be more neutral than a human, that does not hold true for the gender-bias of an open AI. This is because of the training data. These data unmistakably show that there are far more men than women in senior positions so far. An open AI will continue this trend and describe an executive as a man in almost every text. The solution to this bias is found in a closed system such as Textmetrics, in which other training data and filters provide gender-neutral texts.


Gender-neutral words promote diversity in the workplace

Words unconsciously evoke certain associations. When you hear ‘principal,’ you might picture a strong-willed male leader, but when you hear ‘headmistress,’ you might think of someone in charge of a kindergarten or nursery. The words in your job posting have a similar effect. There are words with strong masculine connotations, such as result-oriented, targets and stress-resistant – such words scare women away – and there are words with more feminine connotations, such as customer-oriented, communicative and collaborative. Men are much less deterred by these than vice versa. So avoid texts with strong male connotations if you want to attract as many candidates as possible. With more women, you create more diversity in the workplace, which means more creativity, innovation and sustainability.


Creating gender-neutral job postings

Creating gender-neutral text for a job posting is enormously difficult. You have to deal with social bias, but also with your own unconscious beliefs. Fortunately, Textmetrics specializes in this: in creating gender-neutral job ads. A specially developed AI detects the gender bias in your texts and suggests improvements. And of course, we at Textmetrics are on top of social and technical developments to give our clients and partners the best experience!


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