Chairman vs Chairperson
Chairman is a word that refers to the highest post in an organization. The word has been surrounded by controversy of late with women rising to this coveted post in many companies around the world. The increasing trend of women occupying the chair in companies has led to coining of the word chairwoman, and even a more neutral chairperson that is more comfortable than chairman when a woman rises to the chair. Let us take a closer look at the two words and their usage for this highest post around the world.
Usually, it is the word Chairman of the Board that is technically correct in a company. However, it is common for employees and shareholders of the company to use the word chairman for the person holding this post rather than calling him chairman of the board. Chairman is the head of a company as he is responsible for the fortunes of the business as well as dealing with the outside world. He is the captain of the ship to speak figuratively and all employees of the company look up to the person for guidance and authority.
Technically speaking, chairman is a word that refers a man holding this post. The situation becomes confusing when it is a woman who occupies the chair. Then it is better refer her as a chairwoman or better still, chairperson, which is gender neutral as chairman smacks of male chauvinism, as if no woman can become eligible to hold the chair in a corporation.
What is the difference between Chairman and Chairperson?
• There is basically no difference between the words chairman and chairperson and they only refer to the fact that the person occupying the chair is a man or a woman.
• It is better to use the word chairperson, if you are not aware of the gender of the person occupying the chair.
• It is politically correct (no male chauvinism) to use the word chairperson.
• In fact, there are many who use the word chair to avoid all such confusion.
• There is only as much difference between a chairman and a chairperson as there is between a salesperson and a salesman.