Gendered or Neutral?

Abstract:

In this paper, we present a Mechanical Turk study that explores how participants perceive the most common words that have been used to refer to people in recent CHI literature. The top five CHI people words in 2015 were: user, participant, person, designer, and researcher. We asked people to think about one of these people words for ten seconds and then to draw an image of it. After the drawing was done we asked simple demographic questions about both the participant and the created image. Our results show that while generally our participants did perceive most of these words as predominately male, there were two notable exceptions. Women appear to perceive the terms “person” and “participant” as gender neutral. That is, they were just as likely to draw a person or a participant as male or female. So while these two words are not exactly gender neutral in that men largely perceived them as male, at least women did not appear to feel excluded by these terms. We offer an increased quantitative understanding of the general public’s perception of CHI’s people words and discuss the challenges this poses to our community in striving toward gender inclusiveness.

A. Bradley, C. MacArthur, M. Hancock, and S. Carpendale, Gendered or Neutral? Considering the Language of HCI, in Proc. GI, Toronto, Ont., Canada, Canada, 2015, pp. 163-170.

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