What do you call a female Professor?

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In the realm of academia, where knowledge is nurtured and intellect thrives, titles play a significant role in defining one’s accomplishments and expertise. Over the years, the quest for inclusivity and gender equality has spurred discussions about the appropriate terminology to address female professors. This article delves into the diverse range of honorifics used to refer to women in academia, explores the historical context, and examines the evolving landscape of gender-inclusive language. Join us on this captivating journey through academia’s corridors as we unravel the question: What do you call a female professor?

What do you call a female Professor?

The Origins of Academic Titles

Tracing the Footsteps of Tradition

The tradition of academic titles can be traced back to the Middle Ages when universities were emerging as centers of intellectual pursuit. During this era, the status of women in academia was highly restricted, and female representation in teaching positions was scarce. Consequently, academic titles were predominantly designed with male language and pronouns. The use of terms like “doctor” and “professor” inherently reflected the male-dominated nature of academia during that time.

An Unwavering Focus on Progress

As societal norms evolved and women’s contributions to academia became increasingly prominent, the need for gender-inclusive language gained momentum. Educational institutions, recognizing the importance of inclusivity, embarked on a journey to address the linguistic disparity. The quest to honor female academics appropriately while preserving the prestige associated with traditional titles has paved the way for new terminologies and honorifics.

Female Professors: The Language of Equality


The term “professor” stands as the pinnacle of academic titles, carrying with it a rich heritage and immense respect. In contemporary academia, women holding this esteemed position are appropriately addressed as “professor.” This gender-neutral title recognizes their scholarly achievements and their contribution to their respective fields. Embracing this gender-inclusive usage of “professor” reinforces the principle of equality and showcases the value placed on expertise, regardless of gender.


The honorific “Dr.” has long been synonymous with individuals who hold doctoral degrees, irrespective of their gender. This title signifies a significant accomplishment, acknowledging an individual’s dedication, perseverance, and intellectual prowess. Female professors, as holders of doctoral degrees, are rightfully addressed as “Dr.” The usage of this title transcends gender distinctions and emphasizes the universal nature of scholarly achievement.

Exploring Alternative Honorifics


The term “professoress” was once used to address female professors explicitly, creating a separate category. However, this term has fallen out of favor in recent years due to its perceived diminutive nature. It implies a distinction based solely on gender and may undermine the professional stature of female professors. As the pursuit of gender inclusivity progresses, society has gravitated towards embracing gender-neutral terms that promote equality and eliminate gender-based distinctions.


Institutions have adopted the use of gender-neutral terms such as “chairperson” or “chair” to refer to the individuals overseeing academic departments or committees. This inclusive language acknowledges the leadership roles held by female professors and underscores their authority and expertise. The adoption of gender-neutral honorifics within administrative positions fosters an environment where gender is not a defining factor in one’s professional standing.

The Power of Choice

Individual Preference

In the quest for gender-inclusive language, it is essential to recognize and respect the individual preferences of female professors. Some may choose to embrace traditional titles, while others may opt for more contemporary alternatives. It is crucial to create an environment where women in academia feel empowered to choose how they wish to be addressed based on their personal identities and professional aspirations. By allowing for individual preference, academia can foster a sense of autonomy and inclusivity, ensuring that female professors are recognized and respected according to their own choices.

Cultural and Regional Variations

It is important to note that the appropriate terminology for addressing female professors can vary across cultural and regional contexts. Different countries and academic institutions may have their own unique conventions and honorifics. As global conversations about gender inclusivity continue to evolve, it is crucial to consider and adapt to these diverse linguistic landscapes. By embracing the nuances of cultural and regional variations, academia can foster a more inclusive and respectful environment for all.

The Way Forward: Embracing Gender-Inclusive Language

Language as an Agent of Change

Language has the power to shape our perceptions and influence societal norms. As we strive for a more inclusive and equitable academic landscape, it is imperative to embrace gender-inclusive language. By adopting terminology that recognizes and respects the accomplishments of female professors, we can dismantle barriers and biases that may hinder progress. Through conscious linguistic choices, academia can promote a culture of gender equality and pave the way for future generations of scholars.

Promoting Diversity and Representation

In addition to using inclusive language, promoting diversity and representation within academia is essential. Creating spaces where women can thrive, be heard, and make significant contributions is crucial for dismantling gender inequalities. Encouraging the recruitment and retention of female professors, supporting their career advancement, and fostering an inclusive environment are vital steps toward achieving gender equity within academic institutions.


In conclusion, the question of what to call a female professor reflects a broader conversation about gender inclusivity within academia. While the traditional titles of “professor” and “Dr.” serve as appropriate and respectful ways to address female professors, it is equally important to recognize individual preferences and cultural variations. Embracing gender-inclusive language and promoting diversity and representation are pivotal steps toward building an academic landscape that values and respects the contributions of all scholars, regardless of gender. By embracing progress and challenging existing norms, academia can lead the way in creating a more equitable and inclusive society.

What do you call a female Professor?
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