"The chairman of Commercial Law is Yvonne van Roy."
This university uses the term chairperson. Many women do not feel included in the term chairman,
"The average student is enrolled in XX credits per year. He takes more than three years to complete his Bachelor's degree."
To avoid generic he, you can:
"The chairperson of the Public Policy Department is Claudia Scott. The chairperson of Nursing Studies is Professor Fulcher".
Many women find they are addressed or referred to by their first name while males in the same context are not. Do you know how the people in your workplace prefer to be addressed?
"I've asked to be called Ms if people must use a title, but people who dislike the term insist on calling me Mrs".
Many women prefer no title at all, or choose Ms if one is absolutely necessary. Others prefer Mrs or Miss. Take the trouble to find out what people prefer.
"Janet Frame is a New Zealand authoress". Many women experience the suffixes -ess and -ette as trivialising diminutives. Terms like "poetess", "sculptress" and "actress" cannot be used without risk of offence.
"Our new boss is a real fox!"
"The new student in room 4 is a lovely bit of stuff!"
"Our secretary is a real peach!"
Many women do not like being addressed or described by terms which compare them to animals, objects or food, however complimentary the intention.
"Mr X is a real old woman at times."
Many women object when terms which describe women are used as insults to describe men.
If you want suggestions about how to avoid a specific instance of sexist language write to the Convenor of the Committee on Sexual Harassment, c/o the Registry.
This leaflet was prepared by the Committee on Sexual Harassment, Victoria University of Wellington.
Printed by Communications Services Section, Victoria University of Wellington.