Module 9 – Exercise 5: Gender equity in recruitment advertisements ("Gender Decoder")
E4J University Module Series: Integrity & Ethics
Module 9: Gender Dimensions of Ethics
Ask the students to find a job advertisement for a role they would be interested in applying for. Ask them to use the "Gender Decoder for Job Ads" tool (available here) to review the wording of their chosen job advertisement. Ask them to answer the following questions:
- Consider how this tool and the Ethics of Care would direct you to rewrite the advertisement to ensure it is more gender neutral. What words did you change?
- Are there any words in the Decoder (used in the original research) that you would question or you feel are missing? Explain why that is.
- Reflect on what you learnt about your own biased use of language.
Facilitate a class discussion drawing on their responses. If time is short, lecturers can ask the students to submit their written responses, attaching their marked-up job advertisement.
One key initiative being used by organizations is to review and amend their recruitment practices to ensure that they are more open and flexible and that the language used in their job advertisements reflect those policies. A tool developed for this purpose is the " Gender Decoder for Job Ads". Job advertisements and position descriptions can be pasted into the Gender Decoder and it will provide advice on the language used, i.e. whether the wording is masculine, feminine or gender neutral.
As an alternative, lecturers could conduct an exercise in which students transform sexist or discriminatory phrases into inclusive and gender ethics-based language. This resource of the Hamilton School can be useful for this purpose. The resource will also help demonstrate that sexist language is pervasive, demonstrating the extent to which it has been normalized and is used in everyday contexts, to the point that we often overlook the insidious effects of this type of discrimination.