IATE Term of the Week: Sexism

March 10, 2017 10:06 am

This week we commemorated the International Women’s Day, a day of celebration but also a day in which many organisations raise awareness about the issues that continue to affect women throughout the world, one of them being sexism.  The term sexism is defined in the Oxford online dictionary as Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex: ‘sexism in language is an offensive reminder of the way the culture sees women’.

IATE sexism crack

The prevalence of sexism in women’s everyday activities is framed in a context of structural inequality as a result of existing cultural values, social constructs and gender roles rooted in a patriarchal system. Such inequalities are being tackled from different angles and by different national and supranational organisations and agencies. Gender equality is embedded in several of the new United NationsSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, which evidences the need for a constant revision of our social relationships.

In this sense, language is not free from sexism either, and sexist language continues to be a hot topic debated both in Academia and in the public sphere, i.e. the media and social media. For instance, several renowned dictionaries, such as the Oxford Dictionary or the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (DRAE) have been asked to review some sexist definitions or sexist usage examples. There are also several bodies and institutions that advocate in favour of and provide guidelines for using non-sexist or gender-neutral language, such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) or even the EU Interinstitutional Style Guide.

Here you can see the entry for sexism in IATE:

Sexism IATE term week

Contribute to IATE! Update this term in your language. A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.


Several posts on the relationship between sexism/gender and language can be found in our blog, such as:

Check out our list of previous IATE Terms of the Week related to gender issues:

Written by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).


  • Boult, A. (23 January, 2016) “Feminists attack Oxford Dictionary of English for ‘reinforcing sexist stereotypes'”, The Telegraph. Available at: http://bit.ly/2mF6neX (Accessed: 09 March, 2017)
  • Careaga Castrillo, P. (13 March, 2012) “No es gramática, es ideología”, El País. Available at: http://bit.ly/2m6trQY (Accessed: 09 March, 2017)
  • Morales, M. and Fernández, B. (03 March, 2017) “La RAE revisará la definición de “sexo débil”, El País. Available at: http://bit.ly/2n3w7CO (Accessed: 09 March, 2017)
  • Oficina para a Igualdade de Xénero, Universidade da Coruña (2012) Lengua y sexismo: el tiempo de la reflexión. Available at: http://bit.ly/2niEwyf (Accessed: 09 March, 2017)
  • Teso, E. & Crolley,L. (2013) “Gender-based linguistic reform in international organisations”, Language Policy, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 139–158, doi:10.1007/s10993-012-9241-z
  • Bringas López, A., Castro Vázquez, A., Fariña Busto, M.J., Martín Lucas, B. and Suárez Briones, B. (2012) Manual de linguaxe inclusiva no ámbito universitario. Unidade de Igualdade da Universidade de Vigo. Available at: http://bit.ly/2mn3Zr9 (Accessed: 09 March, 2017)
  • United Nations (2017) Women and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Available at: http://bit.ly/2m3qi3A (Accessed: 09 March, 2017)

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