When writing, assign genders intentionally to challenge the gender gap

Assign genders to characters intentionally to challenge the gender gap. If a role is dominated by a group, assign it to the minority; otherwise, be gender neutral to reinforce the equality trend.


As a new idea in my mind, this is by no means a solid source. I'm happy to hear your thoughts and learn better.

This idea came from reading Tom Cleveland's "How to read self-help". Here's the main passage that sparked this thought:

“if your boss likes golf and you want a raise, ask for it while taking her golfing”

Although I want to help closing the gender gap, thinking of a woman as a boss is still a new thing to me (and society at large). When I think of "the boss", a white man in his 40s quickly comes to mind.

This realization made me review my use of "them" for every character in my writing. Although being gender neutral is generally a good think, you can assign the gender of a given character intentionally to challenge gender gaps.

For example, using she/her for a neurosurgeon helps the reader see a woman in that place of power which still is dominated by men. The main benefits of this are:

  • Altering the perception of those in power to be more acceptive of minorities in their place;
  • And empowering minorities to allow themselves to picture themselves in these positions.
    • I can't trace back the source of this right now, but allowing oneself to do this is essential to actually get there.

Of course, I'm speaking from a place of power myself, so do chime in with your feedback if you think otherwise :)