This job posting have surprised me a lot. It states that HTML/CSS Web Developers (female/male) are needed.

I do understand that in theory this depends on local laws, but out of my head I hardly can name a European country where it is legal to constraint sex, gender or age at all. You can not write something like "Python developer, blonde woman in twenties, heavily needed to join our team of seasoned professionals".

So the question is - shouldn't we just ban gender (as well as any non-professional characteristics) indication in job postings? Even if one is so generous that clearly states that he allows females as well :)

UPD: I was wrong, it is a thing in Germany and has nothing to do with sexism, nothing at all.

  • 1
    Is this really that big a deal? I mean, has it happened more than once? =/
    – Someone
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 9:39
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    Are they talking about trans genders. Bcoz. Now a days they are equally working like us. So, the company may not be interested in them! Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 9:41
  • @Purmou, And I've asked only once ))) To answer you seriously, I do believe that this nevertheless should be stated clear.
    – shabunc
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 9:41
  • Male/Female means "Any" or "Only". My comment is apt for the Second one! Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 9:42
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    The company is trying to show they are inclusive. Their goal is to encourage women to apply too. It is the politically correct thing to do these days. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 9:46
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    @Martijn Pieters: Uh, actually politically correct would be to not mention gender, hence not drawing any attention to the fact that there is a gender disparity in the field.
    – Tudor
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:22
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    @Tudor: I didn't say I agreed with the practice; it's what the hiring manager thinks he's doing. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:23
  • 1
    is this a trick question to flesh out the sexless within the community?
    – prusswan
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 11:19
  • Related question on The Workplace. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:17
  • In the UK companies used to proudly declare "we are an equal opportunity employer". Providing equal opportunity was the law. So they were declaring "we don't break the law". Well, err, good for you, I guess. So, at the job interview, if I said "I won't steal from the company", that wouldn't strike you as odd?
    – Raedwald
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 10:06

4 Answers 4


This is a German speaking company from Austria. In German the word Developer ("Der Entwickler") has a male gender, which means that it's very common to explicitly add that you welcome all genders. As the default (albeit strictest) grammatical meaning could be interpreted to exclude non-males (e.g. "Die Entwicklerin").

In fact, today many companies advertise for (m/w/x).

That's a mindset you cannot shake easily, even if posting in English where this issue disappears on its own since "Developer" doesn't have a gender.

  • I wasn't entirely sure about my German, but I was thinking it was something like that. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 11:36
  • Same with Hebrew. Most nouns have both male and female words for them so we got two words for "developer". Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 12:27
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    So the English equivalent would be advertising for "postmen and postwomen"
    – AakashM
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 13:55
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    Ah, the downsides of gendered nouns... Natural languages, you silly.
    – Yawus
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 14:47
  • Even if that's true, I'm not sure it's a good enough reason. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 21:26

In The Philippines, you can legally discriminate based on all three. Many job ads ask for a person of a certain sex and gender within a specific age range. I have noticed that quite a few companies basically just copy job ads they have on other sites directly into Careers, which I think is an egregious under utilization of the resource in many cases, but it's their ad.

Not being able to specify the same criteria as they would otherwise could present an employer with a conflict, if a candidate notices that age / sex / gender is not specified in the Careers version of the ad. I'm not sure that Careers wants to put that kind of barrier in front of companies governed by similar laws, which are similar in many parts of Asia.

With that being said, I think more could and should be done to help companies tailor their ad to better hone in on the audience they will receive. I pull feeds from Careers and while I find some of the ads quite clever and interesting, the majority of them really don't make me raise an eyebrow. These companies know how to fish, perhaps Careers could do a better job of helping them bait the proverbial hook.

Then again, I've never seen the employer view, or the process they go through to post an ad - so I'm speculating a bit. Recruiters can be .. difficult to deal with.

  • 1
    imagine that links for pirate content or malware or whatever are legal in some country. as far as I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) such content will be exterminated from SE regardless what are exact law in a specific country. I'm not arguing or showing disagreement, though. Besides, if we are trying to keep in context the country, in Austria we can not discriminate based on any of these)
    – shabunc
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 12:52
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    @shabunc It is an interesting argument, but it's illegal for US employers and not (to my knowledge) illegal to just display an ad for a non-US company. Whereas linking to warez is a slightly different story, and has the context of international treaties. Still, you raise something to think about.
    – user50049
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 13:16
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    Even if it is the norm in the Philippines, Stack Exchange as a company and a community has a moral obligation to not support blatant sexist discrimination. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 21:28

The particular phrasing is a cultural issue. In the UK or US I would expect the same sentiment to be expressed something like

We welcome applications from any individuals regardless of ethnic origin, gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation or age. All applications will be considered on merit.

or more extremely

Fog Creek Software, Inc. does not discriminate in employment matters on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other protected class. We support workplace diversity.

or most likely no mention of non-work-related personal attributes at all.

I suspect the Careers policy is that anything goes so long as it's not offensive or illegal. Is this offensive or illegal? I don't think so..


A few years ago, ity was quite common to see the (male/female) postfix on job postfix. Mostly driven from the "great plan" to balance the workforce between the sexes. So in order to be political correct, job postings include (male/female) or even (female/male) to be more equal than others.

Today it is more obvious to not discriminate base on gender, race etc. But companies still like to advertise their political correctnes.

A better way would be to include a sentence like "we are looking for the best candidate regardless of irrelevant properties like gender etc..". So we can add (human) for now until we find intelligent life on other planets.

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    IMO, mentioning anything about gender does not help political correctness. It's like writing "black people are welcome to also apply because we are politically correct". What this does in fact is cast a spotlight on the fact that there is a gender issue in the field. I think job advertisers should just refrain from mentioning gender. Of course, I do not support banning the practice, I just don't recommend it.
    – Tudor
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:27
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    This was useful for candidates. In some areas a woman knows applying for some jobs is lost time, except if such a mention is present. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:28
  • @dystroy, so what, companies wishing to indicate a lack of racism in there corporate culture should write something like - "Accepting black and asians as well"?
    – shabunc
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:33
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    And that, my friends, is why we have invented lawyers. Using a three page disclaimer to describe what common sense is. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:35
  • @shabunc don't put it to extremes. I could have gone on looking for my first job, 20 years ago, if the rare companies accepting a man for the job I was looking for were precising it. Note that I'm not advocating for allowing it on carreers offers. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:37

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