Inclusive language at work – practical tips

Language researchers agree that the way we say or write not only describes but also cteates reality. Stereotypes fixed by language often create the wrong harmful image of people and groups. That is why it is so important to pay attention to what and how we say.

The goal of the language of equality or the so-called the inclusive language is to emphasize the presence in society of people and groups previously unnoticed or marginalized and the inclusion of their perspectives. The language norms created in this way reflect diversity within a given group and draw attention to minority groups. In short, it is a language showing respect for minorities and diversity.

Inclusive language at work - practical tips
Inclusive language at work – practical tips

What is worth paying attention to?

• do not use phraseological phrases that perpetuate stereotypes, for example: “old wives’ tale“, “male decision“, etc.
• talk to men and women in situations when we are talking about a group in which women are present or use gender-neutral terms , e.g. humanity or Member of Congress intead of mankind and Congressman
• react to sexist comments and jokes
• break stereotypes and choose women for “hard tasks” and men where “soft skills” are needed
• pay attention to the stigmatization of some terms, eg “a disabled person” and “a person with a disability“. The first term stigmatizes a given person, he determines who he is. And besides being a “person with disabilities“, she is also a mum, a writer, a swimmer, etc. or is autistic vs. has autism vs. has been diagnosed with autism
• talk about features related to origin such as ethnicity, nationality, skin color and religion only when they are relevant to the message. Let us consider whether it is necessary to emphasize the difference, eg of origin other than your nationality, of a color other than yours, of denominations other than yours.
• try to use a neutral language and avoid semantically charged phrases, eg the words “foreigner” emphasize “otherness” of people from outside your country. The words “migrant” is more neutral in meaning. If it is important in context, you can also describe a person through civic or ethnic affiliation.
• always use grammatical forms preferred by the interlocutor
• avoid generalizations, eg “Today we all celebrate the Christmas Eve“. In this way, people who do not identify with Catholicism are excluded.

What else would you add? We await your observations and comments.

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