Can languages be sexist? Short answer, yes. Even English.
Sure, unlike Spanish, French, and German, English words aren’t gendered. But sexism in the English language still exists.
Some English words, including bossy, bubbly, frigid, frumpy, and high-maintenance, are only used to describe women.
Words like bossy or aggressive are even used as criticisms for women in formal workplace reviews.
But just because a language can be sexist, doesn't mean it has to be sexist when you use it. And the good news is that because language is always evolving, our content can evolve too.
Take a look at this article by colleague at Lingoda, Cassie Wright (@CassieWrights). You'll learn how to avoid many of the common pitfalls in English, and discover how French, German and Spanish are changing to avoid gender bias. Hint, 'Fräulein' is out (German) as is 'sargenta' (Spanish).
As for where we came in, if you think a woman is 'bossy', that probably means she's the boss!
Why does English have no problem referring to adult women as girls when the words men and boys aren’t so interchangeable? In fact, when the word boys is used to describe adult males, it’s intentional. It’s meant to point out that their actions are childish. So, does that mean anyone who says girls instead of women means it as an insult? Not at all. You’ll often hear the word girls used in phrases like girls’ night or girl talk. Consider this: There is no male equivalent to the words spinster, working mother, career woman, and soccer mom. In other words, you can’t say working dad or career man because it’s culturally assumed that men have careers. There has never been a need to point that out. Either way, it’s not looking good for English when it comes to sexism.