Why should you use gender neutral adjectives?
Did you know they affect people’s behavior (e.g., in everyday language, interview questions, job ads, etc.)? Using them helps you avoid words that might be interpreted as biased, discriminating, or degrading.
Here’s a big list of gender neutral adjectives to help you create more balanced job ads (or any other type of content):
170 Examples of Gender Neutral Adjectives
- step by step
5 Examples of Gender Neutral Adjectives
Writing 100% gender-neutral is still a new concept (e.g., job ads with ZERO male- or female-coded words).
I found a few examples of brands doing this to give you inspiration. And I bolded the gender neutral adjectives, so they’re easy to find:
1. Job Ad Qualifications
Microsoft uses 4 gender neutral adjectives in the “Qualifications” section of their Technical Account Manager job ad. I bolded them for easier reading:
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent practical experience preferred (Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, or Digital Marketing).
- Highly skilled in interacting with sales teams and technical stakeholders and translating complex requirements into appropriate solutions.
- Exemplary communicator with excellent written and oral business communication skills.
2. A Mission Statement
Intuitive Surgical‘s mission statement uses the gender neutral adjective “intelligent” to describe their technology:
“We believe that minimally invasive care is life-enhancing care. By combining ingenuity and intelligent technology, we expand the potential of physicians to heal without constraints.”
3. “About Us” in Job Ads
SimpleHealth uses the gender neutral adjective “passionate” in the About Us section for their Growth Marketing Manager role:
“SimpleHealth is on a mission to reduce unnecessary doctor visits and save patients time and money. Come be part of a bright and passionate team that loves to solve hard problems and seeks to drive down spiraling healthcare costs. We have a diverse culture rooted in honesty and transparency, and we know that each voice matters.”
4. A Career Page Tagline
HPE‘s career site tagline “Make Your Mark” is supported by the gender neutral adjective “relentless” when they talk about their commitment (to their employees):
“Hewlett Packard Enterprise advances the way people live and work. What sets us apart? Our people. Our people’s relentless commitment to partner, innovate, and act.”
5. Company “Beliefs”
Snap uses the gender neutral adjective “consistent” in its diversity report, referring to removing hate speech from their product:
“We believe there is no place for racism and hate speech on our platform and the way we have designed our platform from the beginning is consistent with that belief.”
Gender Neutral Adjectives (for job ads)
Using gender neutral adjectives in job ads helps you reach a more broad and balanced set of applicants. Unfortunately, gender-coded words often find their way into job ads.
For example, using too many male-coded words in your computer programmer job description may discourage equally talented women software engineers.
And, if you use too many female-coded adjectives in your nurse job posting, you may turn away qualified male nurses.
Removing male- and female-coded words from job ads boosts your apply rate (by 29%) and decreases cost per application (by 41%).(source: Appcast — The Impact of Gendered Wording on Candidate Attraction)
If your goal is to remove all gender-coded words, use this list of gender neutral adjectives to craft your job ads. I put them into 10 categories (in alphabetical order) for easier reading:
|Gender Neutral Adjectives||Topics/Categories|
|amiable, amicable, approachable, articulate, coherent, cohesive, conscientious, cordial, diplomatic, eloquent, fluent, mindful, personable, persuasive, positive, proactive, tactful||communication|
|accomplished, ace, adept, advanced, authoritative, competent, educated, experienced, fast-learner, fast-learning, knowledgeable, multi-tasker, pro, professional, proficient, qualified, savvy, seasoned, skilled, skillful, specialist, specialized, technical, trained, veteran, well-versed||competence|
|clever, cutting-edge, elegant, first-class, forward-thinking, groundbreaking, ingenious, innovative, inspired, inspiring, inventive, novel, progressive, resourceful, revolutionary, sophisticated, talented, unique, unprecedented, world-class||creativity/innovation|
|accountable, commendable, confidential, consistent, credible, dependable, ethical, exemplary, genuine, legitimate, reliable, reputable, respected, sincere, steadfast, true, well-grounded||integrity|
|appreciative, approachable, easygoing, mindful, outgoing, patient, receptive, sociable||interpersonal|
|able, cogent, engaging, excellent, exceptional, proven, robust, solid, sound, steady||leadership|
|accurate, astute, calculating, complex, detail-oriented, detailed, discerning, exact, insightful, intelligent, investigative, methodical, meticulous, orderly, organized, perceptive, practical, precise, process-oriented, purposeful, rigorous, shrewd, step by step, strategic, structured, systematic, thorough||organization/problem-solving|
|conscientious, cooperative, courteous, harmonious, respectful, team-minded, tolerant||team player/teamwork|
|agile, broad-minded, capable, comprehensive, dexterous, diverse, extensive, flexible, multi-faceted, open-minded, quick-thinking, resourceful||versatility|
|comparative, dedicated, devoted, diligent, disciplined, dynamic, earnest, energetic, energized, enterprising, focused, fueled, guided, hardworking, industrious, inspired, keen, lively, motivated, oriented, passionate, persistent, productive, prolific, relentless, results-oriented, self-starter, spirited, tenacious, vigorous, zealous||work ethic|
Use 100% Gender Neutral Adjectives
If you want to automate gender neutral adjectives, Ongig’s software does that for job descriptions (and other HR content). Please request a demo for a free gender-neutrality report on your JDs.
This is a guest post from Gem Siocon. Gem is a digital marketer and freelance content writer. She specializes in HR, marketing, and B2B.