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Gendered Language

Languages use different systems for classifying nouns. Gender languages assign nouns to distinct sex-based categories, masculine and feminine. We construct a new data set, documenting the presence or absence of grammatical gender in more than 4,000 languages which together account for more than 99% of the world's population. We find a robust negative relationship between prevalence of gender languages and women's labor force participation
and educational attainment both across and within countries. We also demonstrate that grammatical gender is associated with both weaker legal support for women's equality and reduced female bargaining power within the household.