ACHIEVING GENDER NEUTRALITY IN CONTRACTS
Keywords:gender-based framework, legal framework, language framework, gender neutrality in contracts
Written contracts are expressed through language, which has legal consequences. Language is reflective of preconceptions and misconceptions of a particular matter or circumstance and language usage, being of a personal nature, may also impact a person’s dignity. This can be illustrated in the use of gendered language, which has historically been perfectly acceptable but have fallen in disfavour due to the potential preconceptions, presumptions, and biases that are inherent in stereotypical male-dominated language terms. The approach to replace the male term with a female equivalent still retains gendered language and fails in using gender-neutral language in a world where gender is not as simple as being classified as either male or female. Against this background, this article considers the existing gender-based framework, legal framework, and language framework to assess gender-based language found in written contracts and proposes a contract language framework in order to achieve gender neutrality in contracts.
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