Experts found that the practice of giving women gender specific titles such as chairwoman led to further discrimination against them.
They were likely to be assessed as less impressive professionally than either men or women with male job titles, the Daily Mail reported.
“Feminising language helps make women more visible and more salient, but apparently this is not always an advantage,” said lead author Magdalena Formanowicz, of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw.
“Emphasising femaleness with a feminine title may lower the evaluation of women in a professional context,” she added.
Moreover men using a feminine job title would be ‘devalued, ‘ said the researchers, who reported their findings in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
But they added that women using the masculine labels might profit because they sustain the cultural status quo.
Formanowicz carried out the research with colleagues at the University of Kiel in Germany and the University of Bern in Switzerland.
In one study 96 men and women were asked to evaluate applicants for a ‘prestigious expert position’ and were given a newspaper commentary the candidate had written to help them.
They then had to indicate how likely they were to give the applicant the job.
Male applicants and women with masculine job titles were rated equally highly - but women with feminine job titles were rated significantly lower.
Again a separate internet survey asked 121 people, including 71 women, to imagine they were recruiting someone to work in a successful beauty parlour or a nanotechnology laboratory.
Participants were told there was a shortlist of three and were given a fictitious cover letter to read, which revealed the applicant to currently have either a masculine or feminine job title.
Applicants with feminine job titles were rated as less suitable despite the cover letters being otherwise identical.
According to the researchers, one possible reason for this might be suspicions that women using feminine titles are feminists, which men with conservative attitudes might view as undesirable.
Another reason might be that masculine titles have been long established, whereas new female titles can sometimes sound ‘awkward’.