More people reject genders – Sender draws consequences

Gender in everyday life and in reporting is not important to many Germans, according to a WDR survey. The broadcaster draws its conclusions from this.

Gender-appropriate language is not particularly important to many Germans – this is the result of a representative survey by infratest dimap on behalf of WDR. For almost two-thirds of people, gender plays little or no role. The broadcaster announced this on Tuesday.

The dual naming of masculine and feminine forms is particularly accepted, for example “colleagues”. According to the WDR, it is used by more than half of those surveyed. Other forms of gendering, such as the gender star or a colon in the word, are less accepted.

Gender is more relevant for younger people

Gendering is about using language that makes all genders visible and audible. The WDR surveyed more than 1,000 people in September 2022. The broadcaster compared the answers with a survey from September 2020.

Accordingly, the number of those for whom gender-appropriate language is irrelevant increased slightly. When asked about their attitude to the topic, 41 percent of the citizens stated that the topic of gender is not important to them at all. In 2020 it was 30 percent. 16 percent find it very important, compared to 19 percent three years ago. It was also shown that gender is more relevant for younger people, reports WDR. With older target groups, the rejection is greater.

Less approval of gendering in reporting

The broadcaster also asked people about the issue of gender in reporting. Gender-neutral language is also met with less approval there than it was two years ago: 41 instead of 54 percent stated that they found it good in newspapers, the Internet and apps. With regard to radio, television and podcasts, it is 41 instead of 52 percent.

WDR program director Jörg Schönenborn drew conclusions for the broadcaster from the survey results: “Language is something very personal and we want to speak like our audience. And if we find that this speech gap is rejected, then we also recommend doing without it .”

Individual editorial departments could decide to use it if the form of a special offer is predominantly familiar and common among the audience, for example in the case of an offer on social media, the WDR announced. But language changes, said Schönenborn: “It’s not for eternity and that’s why we always look at it anew.”

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