Academie Française accepts the feminization of occupation words

It took time for the institution regulating the French language to accept the feminine form of certain occupations that formerly existed in masculine form only.

Sara Saidi
Sara Saidi NewsMavens, France
Academie Française accepts the feminization of occupation words - NewsMavens
Academie Francaise. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The Academie Française, which is charged with protecting and regulating the French language, recently discussed a report on the feminization of occupation words. The report was presented by a committee comprised of essayist Gabriel de Broglie, poet Michael Edwards, novelist Daniele Sallenave, and author Dominique Bona. As a result, the Academie Française has finally accepted the feminine form of certain occupations. Even though the list of newly accepted words still has to be published, it can be expected that jobs like "ambassadeur" (ambassador), "procureur" (procurator) and "auteur" (author) will now have official titles for women as well.

Dominique Bona, co-author of the report, said: "language is the reflection of our society’s evolution and women’s place in it".

The decision comes after several years of contention over the issue. Women in France have long expressed concern over the fact that certain prestigious occupations, like author or doctor, could only exist in masculine form. Past requests for change had been rejected by the French Academy, but it seems the institution has finally decided to update its perspective on gender.

Details from the story:

  • The French Academy is tasked with protecting and regulating the French language.
  • The French language institution has finally agreed to focus on the feminization of some words
  • Academicians formerly insisted that the feminine form of some words was incorrect.
  • This issue was addressed in Quebec in 1979 and the feminine form of words liked "auteure" for a woman author have been in use since then.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at