💡 Generic masculine

People tend to picture men

To include everyone, use options that nudge people’s brains into seeing all gender possibilities.

Illustration: A man in a suit with his arms akimbo stands in the spotlight surrounded by a diverse crowd in the shadows

A superhero, a surgeon, and a priest walk into a bar*. If you’re picturing three men, your brain has tripped over gender stereotypes. These stereotypes are triggered by the traditional gender images around us. It takes our brain some backtracking, or a nudge, to realize these three could be women, non-binary, or a mixed group. You have several options to nudge brains into including all genders (see below).

The punchline? Is “Ouch.” 🥱


Therefore, when doctors are on non-resident call, they are required to provide patient treatment should the need arise, and they are NOT entitled to abstain from working from the HA.


Therefore, when a doctor is on non-resident call, he is required to provide patient treatment should the need arise, and he is NOT entitled to abstain from working from the HA.

Doesn't resonate with

  • Everyone who identifies as a woman
  • People in the LGBTQIA+ community
  • People in occupations and roles historically dominated by another gender

Dig deeper

The idea of men as the human default is deeply embedded in our culture. This male bias informs our legal language. It shapes how our brain reads the gender of roles like officer or leader. This bias is reinforced by language and imagery that draws on gender stereotypes. At the same time, our brain’s tendency toward male reading of functions undercuts the representation of women and gender non-conforming people. And it limits people to traditional gender roles, gender identities, and gender expressions. Our gender reading of words can shift as more people take on non-traditional gender roles. And there is evidence that the language we choose to use not only reflects but creates gender perception. A 2019 study showed that gender-neutral pronouns increase positive attitudes toward women and LGBTQIA+ people. Language is the key to making inclusion happen.

What you can do to include all gender possibilities

1 - Focus on the activity. 
2 - Avoid words with a gendered undertone like rockstar, guru, or superhero.
3 - Rephrase with plurals or gender-neutral words. 
4 - Nudge brains back on track with the gender-neutral they.

Figure: 63.9% of officers are male. A male reading of officer renders the 36.1% who identify as female, trans, or non-binary invisible. zippia.com Karen McManus quote: People like to think they're open-minded but if you toss a tired gender stereotype on their path, they'll run with it every time

In other words