Public debate: “Can we use or not, in addition to male forms, the female forms for positions and professions?” Conclusions and recommendations!

The Platform for Gender Equality in partnership with the Career Guidance Center (USM) on Friday, March 10, held a public debate with the theme “Can we use or not, in addition to male forms, and female forms for positions and professions?” .

Within it was discussed about Classification of Occupations from Republic of Moldova and what the dictionary provides for the name of the occupations, as it is grammatically correct and when the names of professions and occupations of both genres will be accepted.

Several conclusions and suggestions were made following the discussions:

  •  The linguistic conservatism of male forms for positions or professions that have ceased to be exclusive (either male or female only) is maintained.
  • By recommending the use of male form as generic but the agreement between the referent and the position, occupation is always done in the masculine, because it is so grammatically correct, it is lost sight of the fact that the linguistic norm is not timeless and immutable.
  • The terms therefore continue to retain this character in not the logic of language. Language is a dynamic system, demonstrates by Eugen Coşeriu, a living organism, influenced by different realities, and some changes are justified!
  • As long as women participate directly in the labor market and occupy positions, this reality must be noted by the Classification of Occupations in Republic of Moldova, by the crafts and specialties nomenclature, and dictionaries.
  • By maintaining the male standard in the names of occupations, qualifications, scientific, military, administrative titles, the perception that women are “reserved” to the other genre is fed into the standard and must be considered “naturally”.
  • Civil servants in parliament, government, people with public dignity who draft / propose laws, normative acts are always in the dilemma of what form to use when it comes to nouns that refer to occupations, as indicated in the Classification of Occupations of the Republic of Moldova, as a rule In the male (only 28 occupations in the classifier have the feminine form), or the one recommended by the Romanian Dictionary, which can be also female.
  • They, as well as representatives from the civil society, academia, media, international organizations working in the country, proposed to develop a Non-Sexual Language Guide. However, the predominant use of male forms for functions and professions is also a discursive mechanism of gender exclusion (usually of women).
  • The Council for Anti-Discrimination, which initiated the work of the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family to review and introduce feminin forms in the Classification of Occupations, other related normative acts, proposes to be sent to the Institute of Philology of the Academy of Sciences Of Moldova a letter with the same request.
  • Spain, France, and the Anglophone countries have gone through their professions and  functions to feminine, though, in case of latter, we recall that English language does not make gender differences. The Anglophones have changed the chairman, for example with the “chairperson,” and when referring to groups of people of both sexes they always say he / she, he or she, men and women. Recently, the Germans also introduced the female form for the chancellor (canzler – canzlerin). In Romanian, the forms of feminine should not be invented, its grammatical system admits. Once accepted in the dictionaries, then, in the normative acts, the Romanian speakers will be used, unstable and sure, and the thesis “Use of the dictum” will get a contour closer to the truth, not a false one.
  • The more frequent attestation and use of feminine forms for trades, professions, public functions in public discourse denotes that much speakers of romanian language, being conscious or less conscious know that language mobility is lower than the society itself, and no longer tolerates the linguistic patriarchate “normally” protected by the academic high. We hope that the Institute of Philology within the Academy of Sciences of Moldova will eventually become self-proclaimed, open to dialogue, participate in discussions and propose solutions.

The event was conducted by A.O. Gender Center, with the support of the „Women in Politics” Program, implemented by the United Nations Entity for Gender and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the East European Foundation and the Partnership Center For Development, with the financial support of the Swedish Government.

The debate can be traced here

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