Dax bosses bypass gendering

Generic masculine, gender asterisk or the interior I – there are many ways to position yourself in relation to gender. According to a new study, the DAX bosses are primarily focusing on an avoidance strategy.

Employees from Google and Youtube at the Gay Pride in San Francisco (archive image).

Dhe DAX bosses try to circumvent the often controversial topic of gender. This is the result of an analysis of the posts made by CEOs of the Dax group in the social media, which the workplace exchange Indeed carried out and which the FAZ has received in advance.

The topic of gender was therefore avoided in all of the 318 articles that were analyzed and written in English. Instead of using pronouns like “he” or “she”, the managers and their PR consultants mostly use plural forms like “we”, “they” or “us”.

The avoidance strategy also dominated in German contributions. In 68 of the 123 texts examined, the board members circumvented the topic using expressions such as “we”, “team” or “people”. 16 texts – or 13 percent – used the generic masculine. On the other hand, 39 contributions – 32 percent – were gendered. The study includes formulations with “and” (such as “employees”, 19 texts), with a colon (employees: inside, 8) with an asterisk (6) or with “inside” (5).

441 posts by the 19 Dax bosses who are represented on social media were examined. The 20 most recent contributions per account and platform were analyzed.

In addition to the current articles, the analysis also looks at the articles on International Women’s Day on March 8th. The result: All of the 19 Dax bosses – all male, as the authors emphasize – spoke out on International Women’s Day and used gender-sensitive language for it.

Frank Hensgens, Indeed boss in German-speaking countries, considers it “very welcome that the Dax 30 CEOs choose gender-sensitive formulations”. This characterizes the corporate brand as an employer and could have a positive effect on a “culture of diversity”.

The question of whether companies should gender is the subject of intense debate. It was not until the end of March that an investigation by the FAZ in cooperation with the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences revealed that the majority of DAX companies are changing or want to do so in the future.