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Mots. Les langages du politique, n°113/2017

Mots. Les langages du politique, n°113/2017

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Edited by Hugues Constantin de Chanay, Yannick Chevalier, Laure Gardelle

Mots. Les langages du politique

How to Write the Gender

In recent years, gender equality has been regularly reaffirmed in a number of countries, including France, through both legislation and feminist claims. This political stance is not only reflected in the law and in economic practices: it also translates into proactive language policies which seek to increase the visibility of women in written discourse, mainly in the form of guidelines for the use of gender-fair language (in France, one can cite the Prime ministerial circulars of 11 March 1986 and 6 March 1998; articles L-1132-1 and 5321-2 of the labour code; or article 25-1 of the criminal code). This pursuit of equality involves a well-balanced representation of the masculine and feminine genders, either through attempts at gender-neutralisation (countering the systematic use of the so-called 'generic masculine'), or through innovative written forms that specify both genders (é.e, éE, é(e), etc.). But in practical terms, how exactly can increased gender equality be implemented in France, given the lack of strong institutional recommendations? Besides, should anyone who rejects the new written forms be regarded as automatically hostile to the whole gender-equality enterprise? This is what issue 113 of Mots addresses, exploring the written forms used to foster gender equality and their linguistic and political implications.