On October 2, in the premises of the Municipal Library "B.P Hasdeu", the Guide "Non-sexist language: conceptual benchmarks and practical recommendations" was presented to the public. The publication, financed by Sweden, was developed during 2018-2019 by Loreta Handrabura, Alexandra Gherasim and Marin Butuc, with the support provided by UN Women Moldova (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) and UNDP Moldova (United Nations Development Programme). The event was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection.
The Guide comes with scientific explanations about the possibility of using feminine forms for professions and necessity of avoiding sexist language. It presents feminine and masculine correspondents, according to three dictionaries, for functions and professions of the Classification of Occupations in the Republic of Moldova, the major groups 1-3. In fact, feminine and masculine forms for professions exist in dictionaries of the Romanian language.
"Our work represents a scientific advocacy for equal opportunities and non-discriminatory treatment through fair language regarding the gender that addresses both the academic environment and the general public interested in this topic. Language is like a living organism and it reflects socio-cultural and economic realities and especially relationships and linkages between individuals,” explained Ms. Loreta Handrabura, PhD in philology, expert in gender policies and one of the Guide’s authors.
Historically, considering that women did not occupy certain functions, especially those in the field of decision making, the forms of feminine for them were not used. At the same time, masculine forms are not used for other professions historically performed in most of cases by women.
“Unfortunately, language changes rapidly to be able to describe developments in technology, but where social attitudes are involved, the content and use of language change more slowly. Because of patriarchal norms who are deeply rooted in the people’s mind, women face on a daily basis much more discrimination due to their gender,” said Adam Amberg, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden to Chisinau.
Milana Ricanovic, Country Representative a.i. of UN Women noted that “the way people express their opinions and thoughts influence the perception about the role of women and men. Practice shows that actually gender stereotypes live deeply in our mind. For example, when we talk about a nurse, we imagine a woman, when we talk about a firefighter, then we imagine a man. We want to use every opportunity to show that every person – men, women, boys and girls – everyone has the same opportunities and rights for pursuing their dreams.”
“Without gender equality and the full participation of women in society, economy and political life we wouldn’t be able to solve the key issues that we are facing at different levels. We are very happy to see this guide published and we are very hopeful that it will help to introduce important changes in the society, will open new doors for women as well as will encourage responsible parts to introduce feminine names for those professions which do not have those yet,” stated Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Resident Representative of UNDP Moldova.
The participants at the event discussed how feminine and masculine forms are used for positions and professions.