In 2012, a little known Swedish press published a children’s book that sparked a nationwide debate. The debate wasn’t about the plot of the book, nor the pictures, but concerned a three-letter word used by the main character of the story. That word was the relatively new, gender neutral pronoun “hen.” Traditionally, Swedish does not have a gender neutral pronoun for people. "Hen" tapped into an ongoing conversation in the country was already having about gender and equality.This week on the podcast we go to Sweden and examine whether gender neutral language can help shape shift societal views on gender equality.
This is part of a series on language and gender in collaboration with the Across Women's Lives project. For more stories on language and gender around the globe head to: www.pri.org/acrosswomenslives.
Thanks to engineer Tina Tobey and Nathalie Rothschild for help on the podcast.