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Gender Detector

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Gender Detector is a Ruby library that will tell you the most likely gender of a person based on first name. It uses the underlying data from the program “gender” by Jorg Michael (described here).


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'gender_detector'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install gender_detector


Its use is pretty straightforward:

>> require 'gender_detector'
>> d =
>> d.get_gender("Bob")
>> d.get_gender("Sally")
>> d.get_gender("Pauley") # should be androgynous

The result will be one of andy (androgynous), male, female, mostly_male, or mostly_female. Any unknown names are considered andies.

I18N is supported if either UnicodeUtils or ActiveSupport are present. To get I18n support, add either one to your Gemfile:

gem 'unicode_utils' # or gem 'activesupport'

Afterwards, gender detection will work for names with non-ASCII characters as well:

>> d.get_gender("Álfrún")

Additionally, you can give preference to specific countries:

>> d.get_gender("Jamie")
 => :female
>> d.get_gender("Jamie", :great_britain)
 => :mostly_male

If you have an alterative data file, you can pass that in as an optional filename argument to the GenderDetector. Additionally, you can create a detector that is not case sensitive (default is to be case sensitive):

>> d = => false)
>> d.get_gender "sally"
 => :female
>> d.get_gender "Sally"
 => :female

Try to avoid creating many GenderDetectors, as each creation means reading in the data file.


The gender_detector code is distributed under the GPLv3. The data file nam_dict.txt is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.