The analysis of speech error corpora in various gender-marked languages has shown that noun substitutions tend to preserve grammatical gender. This result has been taken as an indication that grammatical gender could play a constraining role during the process of lexical selection. To gain insights on the status of grammatical gender in the speech production system, we discuss this hypothesis and we report three picture naming experiments. We attempted to observe gender-marked context effects in the course of error-free speech production. Participants named pictures shortly after processing a prime that was or was not gender marked and that was or was not congruent with the name of the picture. A clear congruency effect was observed, involving both facilitation in the gender congruent conditions and inhibition in gender incongruent conditions. Different interpretations of this effect and of previously reported gender context effects are discussed in the context of current models of speech production. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.