If you look at some job titles on Stack Overflow Jobs you can come across several abbreviations: H/F, M/F, M/W. It does not look programming specific (excuse me if I'm wrong). E.g.:

Ruby-on-Rails or AngularJS developer for Open Source project (m/f)

Senior PHP Developer (m/f)

PHP Softwareentwickler (m/w)

Team Leader Web .Net (H/F)

What is their meaning?

  • This a bit of a guess but M/F and M/W could be Male/Female and Man/Woman - H/F (if you were in France) could be Homme/Femme.
    – Frank
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 8:40
  • Guess you are right. Cause 'Team Leader Web .Net (H/F) - EDITEUR - Management d’équipe – Pôle Innovation TRACE ONE Paris, France' Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 8:47
  • In the examples you give, m/f is certainly male/female, and it refers to the noun developer in both cases. The other abbreviations may mean something similar if they are used in similar ways, but we cannot know that because you provide us no examples of how they are used.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 8:48
  • 1
    The one case of m/w given is in a German posting, so it probably stands for männlich/weiblich, the German counterpart to male/female. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 11:05
  • Related meta question: Should we disallow gender indication in Careers job postings?
    – herisson
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


This is used primarily for job postings from countries which use languages with different words for the masculine and feminine job titles (like English actor/actress, sculptor/scupltress, dominator/dominatrix, etc). Appending "m/f" or similar is a concise way to indicate that applicants of any gender are welcome. It may be a legal requirement in some of these jurisdictions, so has to appear in English even when though it is typically irrelevant.

So these abbreviations stand for:

  • M/F - Male/Female
  • M/W (if you were in Germany) Männlich/Weiblich
  • H/F (if you were in France) - Homme/Femme
  • 9
    For almost all jobs in Britain, the "legal requirement" is that the position must be open to applicants regardless of gender, so there's no reason to explicitly state this in a recruitment advert. Personally, I'd be leery of working for any company who thought they might need to actually point out the they comply with the law in respect of such a basic point. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 15:36
  • 4
    @FumbleFingers I think it reflects more a misunderstanding of how to translate from a "genderful" language to a gender less one like English. I can see how someone from a German-speaking country, likely a bureaucrat, might think this is necessary to indicate that both male and female applicants are welcome to apply when the posting is translated into English. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 15:57
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers: I believe the idea is that for languages that have separate words for the male and female job titles, even if it is already legally required for the job to be open to all applicants regardless of gender, it is thought that using only the masculine title might give a female applicant the false impression that she would not be eligible, or that the company would prefer a man. (Just as if an advert in English talked about the applicant using supposedly "epicene" male pronouns.)
    – herisson
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 17:28
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers: yes, but in languages like German most job titles are the equivalent of "Handy Man," with no gender-neutral equivalent. You can list the full title in both genders, "Handy Man or Handy Woman," but that's a bit long. To save space, you might say "Handy (Wo)man," or "Handy Man (m/f)." Anyway, this is a practice that makes sense in other languages, so gets carried over by accident to English in some cases. But note that the OP's third example is not in English but in German ("Softwareentwickler" is masculine and traditionally epicene, "Softwareentwicklerin" is the feminine form).
    – herisson
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 18:01
  • 2
    @RandikaVishman, that is probably to indicate that they will accept individuals who identify as male, female, or neither. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 21:39

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