Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

female, woman

In general, avoid using the noun female as a synonym for woman. However, in certain specific contexts, such as police descriptions, female is acceptable.

  • Canadian astronauts Roberta Bondar and Julie Payette are women (not females) of vision and determination.
  • The suspect in the convenience store robbery is described by police as a 20- to 25-year-old Caucasian female.

Avoid the use of female or woman as modifiers in job or position titles, as in female astronaut or woman doctor, except when specifically comparing men and women doing the same work.

  • Female teachers still predominate in primary school, and male teachers in secondary schools.

The term female is also applied to animals.

  • In Quebec, hunting is used to control deer populations, but only the females are culled.