Thursday 8 March 2018

Girl or Woman? Language Matters.

In the late 1970s, Robert Brannon gave 462 college students a story to read which described a female's application for a high-level executive position. In one version, she was referred to as a "girl", in the other as a "woman". Students then had to rate her personality traits.

Results: When the female applicant was called a woman, students described her as more tough, mature, more qualified, more deserving of a higher salary than when she was referred to as a girl.

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- Brannon, R. (1978). The Consequences of Sexist Language. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Meetings, Toronto.
- photograph by Joseph Szabo (1976) via, copyright by owner(s)


  1. Interesting find, thanks!

    1. I hope sports commentators will stop calling female athletes "girls".
      Many thanks for your feedback, Kenneth!