Making the World Better for Future Generations

Gender Neutrality refers to not classifying or making assumptions about people based on their gender. In this article, we explore the concept of Gender Neutrality, a crucial topic for achieving gender equality, and look into its practical applications.

Q: What is Gender Neutrality?

(Photo credits : The Guardian)

A: Gender Neutrality means not categorizing or assuming people's genders. It encompasses a perception beyond social, cultural, and physical differences.

Traditionally, our society has been divided into two genders: 'male' and 'female', the so-called ‘binary’ distinction. However, a gender-neutral perspective recognizes the right of everyone to freely express themselves beyond this binary division.

For example, if all the scientists pictured in elementary school science textbooks are male, female students might think being a scientist is irrelevant and inaccessible to them. Gender Neutrality aims to correct such ingrained gender biases in society.

The concept of Gender Neutrality has been around for years. Philosopher Michel Foucault first used the term in an academic context in his 1976 book "The History of Sexuality," which brought wider attention to the concept.

Over time, this concept has gained increasing interest. It emphasizes the need for a gender-transcending approach in various fields.

Examples of Gender Neutrality

There are various ways to practice Gender Neutrality. Let's look at specific examples in three areas: language, products, and policies.

● Use Gender-Neutral Language!

Practicing Gender Neutrality in language means not classifying people by gender. For instance, using gender-neutral pronouns like 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she.'

Also, it's important to use gender-neutral terms in job titles. For example, use 'firefighter' instead of 'fireman' or 'firewoman’.

Such changes in language help people move away from gender stereotypes and embrace and respect diversity. This is especially important in educational environments like schools.

● Create Gender-Neutral Products!

Gender-neutral products are designed not for a specific gender but for everyone to use.

For example, some clothing brands offer gender-neutral apparel, not specifically for men or women. These clothes focus on individual taste and comfort, eliminating gender distinctions in size and design. Admittedly, in some areas, it may take some getting used to. All in all, it amounts to broadening our minds.

A similar change is seen in toys. Instead of 'boys' toys' or 'girls' toys,' companies are increasingly making toys that all children can enjoy. This change helps children freely explore their interests without being constrained by gender.

(Photo credits : Mattel)

● Implement Gender-Neutral Policies!

Gender-neutral policies aim to respect everyone's gender identity and prevent discrimination.

For instance, many schools and workplaces in Europe and America have introduced gender-neutral bathrooms. These facilities are available for all genders, replacing traditional 'male' or 'female' bathrooms.

Another example is the introduction of gender-unspecified IDs. These IDs use 'X' or other gender-neutral markers instead of 'Male (M)' or 'Female (F)', acknowledging various gender identities.

Gender-neutral education policies are also a significant change. Sweden, for instance, actively implements gender-neutral education policies. They avoid gender-divided classes or activities, encourage students to freely explore their interests, and include educational content that challenges gender stereotypes.

Q: Why is Gender Neutrality Important?

A: Gender Neutrality is crucial because it provides equal opportunities for everyone. When expectations and roles based on gender are eliminated, everyone can live their life freely according to their abilities and interests.

▪ Reduction of Gender Stereotypes and Prejudices: Gender Neutrality helps reduce discrimination and violence based on gender, creating an environment where everyone can freely express and explore themselves.

▪ Expanded Consumer Choices: Gender-neutral marketing offers consumers a wider range of choices. Toys not divided by gender allow all children to choose based on their preferences.

▪ Economic Benefits: A gender-neutral approach fosters an atmosphere that moves away from gender-based roles and expectations, leading to more innovation and productivity. Increasing the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields can lead to more diverse innovations!

If you're curious about the global status of gender equality,

check out our next article!


Time to reach gender equality: 132 years

Challenges Toward Gender Equality: The Role of Gender Neutrality

The 'Sustainable Development Goals: 2023 Gender Snapshot Report' by UN Women and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) reveals the current state of inequality faced by women and girls.

This report highlights issues such as women's poverty, lack of leadership opportunities, and limited participation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), showcasing a male-dominated world structure.

For instance, the percentage of women familiar with programming languages is only half that of men, and women inventors listed in international patent applications are only a fifth of their male counterparts.

To address this imbalance, the adoption and implementation of gender-neutral policies are necessary.

If you're curious about a gender-equal world,

check out our next article!


Creating a Gender Equal World

Report Download


Progress on the sustainable development goals:

The gender snapshot 2023

* This report is the latest in an annual series produced jointly by UN Women and UN DESA. It provides a comprehensive analysis of gender equality progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Now, We Need Gender-Neutral AI!

(Photo Credit : Koalition Interactive, Koalition Interactive has introduced the first gender-neutral AI tool.)

Recently, a gender-neutral approach has become crucial in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

For example, early voice recognition technology was developed mainly for male voices, leading to difficulties in recognizing female voices. This was because most developers were men. A more diverse development team, including various genders, can create fairer and more inclusive AI.

The importance of gender equality is also emphasized in the scientific community. Historically, most medical research focused mainly on men, primarily because most researchers were male. However, recent trends are promoting participation from diverse genders, including women.

Especially in heart disease research, there's an increasing number of studies highlighting the differences between men and women. These studies are crucial in developing treatments suitable for everyone.

Gender-neutral language and policies play a vital role in facilitating these changes. If both men and women participate equally in all professions, our society will naturally become more equal.

For a Better Future

These changes go beyond just language or policy adjustments. They contribute to a deeper understanding and respect for gender in our society.

George Orwell's masterpiece, '1984', delves deeply into how language can limit thought and how it affects an individual's perception of the world.

Individuals living in a gender-biased language and system are inevitably shaped to have a biased reality perception and worldview. Correcting this towards gender neutrality can lead us to a more equal society.

Change always starts with a single step. How about starting to use gender-neutral language in schools and communities and pondering how to actively realize diversity and inclusivity?

“Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.”

- Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon -

Learn more :

 Time to reach gender equality: 132 years 

 Creating a Gender Equal World

Reference :

P. H. Smith and E. T. Bamberger, “Gender Inclusivity is Not Gender Neutrality,” J. Hum. Last., vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 441–443, 2021.

S. L. Archer and A. S. Waterman, “Psychological individualism: Gender differences or gender neutrality?,” Hum. Dev., vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 65–81, 1988.

Written by: Yeon Je Choi

Sunhak Peace Prize

Future generations refer not only to our own physical descendants
but also to all future generations to come.

Since all decisions made by the current generation will either positively
or negatively affect them, we must take responsibility for our actions.