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Article

Language and Gender

The Importance of Including a Gender Perspective in the Language of the Constitutional Reform in Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords language, gender, Constitution, reform, Spain
Authors Ana Marrades
AbstractAuthor's information

    Language is a reflection of culture, and at the same time it helps to build that culture. In the same way, it can be used to transform it. Language serves for describing a culture, to show what we see, but at the same time, it strengthens the relationships of power that exist on the basis of male power. In this way, we can use language to build other kinds of relationships based on equality.
    The Spanish Constitution is written in the masculine. Although it is based on equality, masculine language shows that the power relations lean towards men, and this hides women’s participation. When a text or a legal message uses structures or words that hide or discriminate against one gender, it can be said that linguistic sexism exists, and this violates the principle of equality. This is a reflection about what is happening in our society because language describes cultural values. This exclusion of women in the constitutional text is in itself a denial of them as subjects of rights and as citizens. This is not only a denial of the part of power that corresponds to them, but also the consolidation of a collective story of female subordination.
    Therefore this article aims to focus on the need to carry out a revision of the Spanish Constitution in female and inclusive language that, in parallel to the recognition and guarantee of parity democracy, makes women visible as autonomous subjects. In addition, it also breaks with the male universality of the language and the monopoly of male language to define the sources of the law, as well as rights, powers, institutions, values and policies.


Ana Marrades
Senior lecturer in Constitutional law, University of Valencia.
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