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

  1. able
  2. accomplished
  3. accountable
  4. accurate
  5. ace
  6. adept
  7. advanced
  8. agile
  9. amiable
  10. amicable
  11. appreciative
  12. approachable
  13. articulate
  14. astute
  15. authoritative
  16. broad-minded
  17. calculating
  18. capable
  19. clever
  20. cogent
  21. coherent
  22. cohesive
  23. commendable
  24. comparative
  25. competent
  26. complex
  27. comprehensive
  28. confidential
  29. conscientious
  30. consistent
  31. cooperative
  32. cordial
  33. courteous
  34. credible
  35. cutting-edge
  36. dedicated
  37. dependable
  38. detail-oriented
  39. detailed
  40. devoted
  41. dexterous
  42. diligent
  43. diplomatic
  44. discerning
  45. disciplined
  46. diverse
  47. dynamic
  48. earnest
  49. easygoing
  50. educated
  51. elegant
  52. eloquent
  53. energetic
  54. energized
  55. engaging
  56. enterprising
  57. ethical
  58. exact
  59. excellent
  60. exceptional
  61. exemplary
  62. experienced
  63. extensive
  64. fast-learner
  65. fast-learning
  66. first-class
  67. flexible
  68. fluent
  69. focused
  70. forward-thinking
  71. fueled
  72. genuine
  73. groundbreaking
  74. guided
  75. hardworking
  76. harmonious
  77. industrious
  78. ingenious
  79. innovative
  80. insightful
  81. inspired
  82. inspiring
  83. intelligent
  84. inventive
  85. investigative
  86. keen
  87. knowledgeable
  88. legitimate
  89. lively
  90. methodical
  91. meticulous
  92. mindful
  93. motivated
  94. multi-faceted
  95. multi-tasker
  96. novel
  97. open-minded
  98. orderly
  99. organized
  100. oriented
  101. outgoing
  102. passionate
  103. patient
  104. perceptive
  105. persistent
  106. personable
  107. persuasive
  108. positive
  109. practical
  110. precise
  111. pro
  112. proactive
  113. process-oriented
  114. productive
  115. professional
  116. proficient
  117. progressive
  118. prolific
  119. proven
  120. purposeful
  121. qualified
  122. quick-thinking
  123. receptive
  124. relentless
  125. reliable
  126. reputable
  127. resourceful
  128. respected
  129. respectful
  130. results-oriented
  131. revolutionary
  132. rigorous
  133. robust
  134. savvy
  135. seasoned
  136. self-starter
  137. shrewd
  138. sincere
  139. skilled
  140. skillful
  141. sociable
  142. solid
  143. sophisticated
  144. sound
  145. specialist
  146. specialized
  147. spirited
  148. steadfast
  149. steady
  150. step by step
  151. strategic
  152. structured
  153. systematic
  154. tactful
  155. talented
  156. team-minded
  157. technical
  158. tenacious
  159. thorough
  160. tolerant
  161. trained
  162. true
  163. unique
  164. unprecedented
  165. veteran
  166. vigorous
  167. well-grounded
  168. well-versed
  169. world-class
  170. zealous

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.

Tip:

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 AdjectivesTopics/Categories
amiable, amicable, approachable, articulate, coherent, cohesive, conscientious, cordial, diplomatic, eloquent, fluent, mindful, personable, persuasive, positive, proactive, tactfulcommunication
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-versedcompetence 
clever, cutting-edge, elegant, first-class, forward-thinking, groundbreaking, ingenious, innovative, inspired, inspiring, inventive, novel, progressive, resourceful, revolutionary, sophisticated, talented, unique, unprecedented, world-classcreativity/innovation
accountable, commendable, confidential, consistent, credible, dependable, ethical, exemplary, genuine, legitimate, reliable, reputable, respected, sincere, steadfast, true, well-groundedintegrity 
appreciative, approachable, easygoing, mindful, outgoing, patient, receptive, sociableinterpersonal
able, cogent, engaging, excellent, exceptional, proven, robust, solid, sound, steadyleadership
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, thoroughorganization/problem-solving 
conscientious, cooperative, courteous, harmonious, respectful, team-minded, tolerantteam player/teamwork
agile, broad-minded, capable, comprehensive, dexterous, diverse, extensive, flexible, multi-faceted, open-minded, quick-thinking, resourcefulversatility
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, zealouswork ethic
source: Ongig

 

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.

by in Diversity and Inclusion

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