I noticed that women can tell, in Russian, "я не продавец", "я официант" or "она - хороший друг".

Even though these job nouns have a feminine counterpart, respectively, продавщица, официантка, хорошая подруга.

  1. Is it OK to refer to a woman's job either by the male or female ending of the job?
  2. Adjectives will agree in gender with job nouns with masculine endings, even when referring to women?
  3. When dealing with nouns which have no female counterpart, such as администратор (receptionist), can I use одна in the following situation?

    "One of the former [female] receptionists now wants to be a trooper" - Одна из бывших администраторов сейчас хочет стать военной.

  1. Masculine job titles are generally well accepted for women as well. Feminine job titles are only sometimes more preferable (ex. "певица" vs "певец"). In many cases feminine titles are either only colloquial (ex. "врачиха" vs. "врач"), or actually a carryover of wife's titles from patriarchal times ("губернаторша", "инспекторша", "генеральша").

  2. Correct, adjectives agree with title's gender, not person's.

  3. Correct, pronouns (as opposed to adjectives) should agree with person's gender.

  • Some jobs may even require a masculine title, even if it's a female, e.g. оператор крана, or even simply оператор (in film industry). I guess a male title is always more formal and in many cases better suited, I think in many jobs in official titles and work documents the male forms are used for females. Sometimes the only form is male (considered universal).
    – alexsms
    Feb 15 '18 at 7:33
  • I have one more doubt... job titles like гид or экскурсовод are male only... yet many women nowadays play that role. How could I guarantee that I was referring to a woman in the following situation? "I was listening to the Russian [female] guide". Would I need to say "Я слушал русского женского гида"?
    – swrutra
    Feb 15 '18 at 13:15
  • 2
    In that case, use "женщину-гида" or "девушку-гида". Those forms are mostly Ok, but in some contexts they may sound awkward, because you might be stressing person's gender for no good reason.
    – Alexander
    Feb 15 '18 at 17:22
  • @swrutra or their gender will transpire from the context in which you'd use a feminine pronoun "она" - Я слушал рассказ гида, и ОНА говорила... etc Feb 15 '18 at 18:25

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