Gendered English Constructions and Women Invisibility in Nigerian Newspapers

Eunice Omolara Olarewaju


This study investigates how Nigerian journalists use gendered English in their writings with a view to inter alia identifying and determining the occurrences of gender-bias expressions in Nigerian newspapers. The study also shows how Nigerian journalists’ use of language has led to women’s invisibility in the press. Data for this study are from four widely read purposively selected Nigerian Englishmedium newspapers. Data gathered were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively using mainly the framework of Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis. The study’s findings reveal an overwhelming use of masculine nouns/pronouns as generic terms, stereotypic references to male gender with respect to professions when referents are for both feminine and masculine genders. The findings also show male precedence in word-pairing, relative references to women with typical masculine words and preponderant references to men which are demonstrative of reduction of female gender to a state of invisibility while affirming the dominance of male gender. The study concludes that the use of gendered English expressions has become the norm in Nigerian newspapers through the indiscriminate use of gendered expressions. It recommends, among others, the need to revisit the general media code of ethics and practice for journalists in Nigeria to include a stipulation on the gender-fair reporting and encourage the usage of gender-neutral English.



Women invisibility; Marginalization; Gender-bias; Gendered English; Nigerian journalists

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