Businessman: Singular or Plural?

The term “businessman” is commonly used to refer to an individual engaged in business activities. However, there has been a growing discussion around whether the term is gender-neutral and inclusive. In this article, we will explore the debate surrounding the use of “businessman” and discuss alternative terms that are more inclusive and representative of the diverse business community.

The Traditional Use of “Businessman”

Traditionally, the term “businessman” has been used to describe an individual, typically male, involved in business activities. It has been widely accepted and used for many years without considering its potential limitations or exclusivity.

Singular Noun, Gendered Implication

The use of “businessman” as a singular noun implies that business is primarily a male-dominated field. This can create a perception that women are not as prevalent or successful in business, undermining their achievements and contributions.

Lack of Inclusivity

The term “businessman” fails to acknowledge and include individuals of diverse gender identities who are active participants in the business world. It disregards the significant contributions made by women, non-binary individuals, and those who do not identify with the term.

The Rise of Gender-Neutral Terms

In recent years, there has been a shift towards using gender-neutral language to promote inclusivity and equal representation. This movement has also influenced the business community, leading to the adoption of alternative terms.


The term “businessperson” is often used as a gender-neutral alternative to “businessman.” It acknowledges that individuals of any gender can be involved in business activities. By using “businessperson,” the focus shifts from gender to the person’s professional role and expertise.


The term “entrepreneur” is another inclusive alternative that has gained popularity. Unlike “businessman,” which implies involvement in established businesses, “entrepreneur” emphasizes the individual’s role in creating and launching new ventures. It encompasses individuals from various backgrounds and identities who are engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits.

Business Professional

The term “business professional” is a broad and inclusive term that encompasses individuals working in various business roles, including management, finance, marketing, and more. It emphasizes professionalism and expertise in the business realm while avoiding gender-specific language.

Embracing Inclusivity and Diversity

The shift towards inclusive language in the business world goes beyond mere semantics. It reflects a broader recognition of the diverse talents, experiences, and perspectives that contribute to the success of businesses and the overall economy.

The Importance of Representation

Inclusive language and terminology are crucial for ensuring equal representation in the business community. By using gender-neutral terms, we acknowledge and value the contributions of individuals from all gender identities. This fosters an environment of inclusivity, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Promoting Equality

Promoting gender-neutral language is an essential step towards achieving gender equality in business. It helps break down societal stereotypes and biases that limit opportunities based on gender. By embracing inclusive terminology, we create a more equitable playing field for all individuals pursuing business careers.

Encouraging Future Generations

Using inclusive language sends a powerful message to future generations. It demonstrates that success in business is not limited by gender and encourages individuals of all backgrounds to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions. By promoting inclusivity and diversity, we inspire the next generation of business leaders to shape a more inclusive and equal business landscape.


The use of inclusive and gender-neutral language in the business world is an important aspect of fostering inclusivity, diversity, and equality. While the term “businessman” has been widely used in the past, it is essential to recognize its limitations and strive for more inclusive alternatives.