Amy Stephen

Hacker Grandma



This is one of those thankfully rare examples of how not to ever, ever, ever, please do not ever, use pronouns like this, again! =)



Now, before you say it, I realize this graphic was likely produced by someone who might not use English as a primary language. Further, I get it that there is nothing in the text that specifically excludes women directly. (Just by excessively repeated omission.) I also agree, we tend to be overly sensitive.

However. This piece very clearly excludes women. Since it is an educational piece related to how to hire PHP developers and focuses exclusively on men, it is not cool and should be fixed.

In terms of content, it’s quite good! It is colorful, uses a balanced visual design, and catches the readers attention. It would be awesome to find the author and encourage them to fix the problems and produce a copy worthy of sharing!

Here are examples of how to improve the information in a way that is inclusive:

  1. Developer images: Since there are two pictures of developers, change one to an image of a female developer.
  2. Change: ‘Ask About His Experience” to ‘Ask about experience’.
  3. Change: ‘you should ask a developer is about his experience’ to ‘Ask developers about their experience.’
  4. Change: ‘Ask About His PHP & HTML Programming Knowledge” to ‘Ask about PHP and HTML Programming Knowledge.”

In general, it’s best to avoid pronoun use. Just set a goal to never use gender in your writing unless it is relevant to the piece. As the article suggests, when hiring developers, the attributes to focus on are experience, skill, work ethic, reliability, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, easy to get along with, and so on. Since none of those characteristics are more likely to be exhibited in one or the other gender, there is absolutely no reason to introduce gender, at all.

Like all things, learning correct approaches is important. It takes practice. We accept the value of learning how to sanitize data correctly. It is just as important, maybe even more so, to learn how to communicate appropriately. You’d be surprised how easy it is to avoid pronouns in your writing.

It just takes a woman’s touch… ;-)

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