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Gender in Language and Gender in Employment

  • Astghik Mavisakalyan


Women lag behind men in many domains. Feminists have proposed that sex-based grammatical gender systems in languages reinforce traditional conceptions of gender roles, which in turn contribute to disadvantaging women. This article evaluates the empirical plausibility of this claim in the context of the labour market outcomes of women. Based on a sample of over 100 countries, the analysis shows that places where the majority language is gender-intensive have lower participation rates of women in the labour force. Individual level estimates further underscore this finding and indicate a higher prevalence of genderdiscriminatory attitudes among speakers of gender-intensive languages.

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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2011-563.

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Length: 30 Pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2011-563
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  1. Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Culture: an empirical investigation of beliefs, work, and fertility," Staff Report 361, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Masters, William A. & McMillan, Margaret S., 2001. "Climate And Scale In Economic Growth," Miscellaneous Papers 11845, Agecon Search.
  3. Rose, Andrew K & Spiegel, Mark, 2006. "Non-Economic Engagement and International Exchange: The Case of Environmental Treaties," CEPR Discussion Papers 5942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Amir N. Licht & Chanan Goldschmidt & Shalom H. Schwartz, 2003. "Culture Rules: The Foundations of the Rule of Law and Other Norms of Governance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-605, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2011. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," IZA Discussion Papers 5735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Horst Feldmann, 2007. "Protestantism, Labor Force Participation, and Employment," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 795-816, October.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2007. "The Power of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 2750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. M. Keith Chen, 2011. "The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1820, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Dec 2012.
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