Inclusive and non-sexist language for companies
To this day, there are ways of communicating that contribute to reinforcing prejudices and biases within companies. Using language and expressing ourselves in an inclusive and non-sexist way not only generates a positive environment, but also a better performance within the organization. When a company incorporates the practice of inclusive communication within the organization and in its external communication strategies, including marketing and sales, it generates benefits:
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Inclusive and non-sexist language for companies
Increased innovation and creativity within the company: According to a McKinsey report, teams that are diverse have up to a 35% chance of financially outperforming teams that are not.
Increasing the diversity of the company: through the use of non-sexist and inclusive messages in job offers, a culture of inclusion of the company is reflected.
Creating high-quality, targeted products and services that meet the needs of the clientele and are not based on gender roles and stereotypes. Your company can achieve a more personal and satisfactory rapport with the clientele if the team reflects the diversity of your target audience.
Companies that implement an inclusive marketing strategy for their products or services position themselves and are identified as promoters of gender equality.
Recommendations for inclusive communication in language
Avoid the use of the generic masculine and choose to use gender neutral collective nouns or abstract terms
It is recommended not to use the generic masculine because, through this, women can be made invisible and excluded in the work place
Instead of saying: ‘Okay guys, let’s get started’
We suggest: replacing guys with ‘everyone’ or ‘team’
We suggest: Refer to a theoretical person as ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’
Instead of saying: ‘If our client needs additional information he might turn to our website ahead of time, but more likely, he’ll turn to LinkedIn first.’
We suggest: ‘If our client needs additional information they might turn to our website ahead of time, but more likely, they’ll turn to LinkedIn first.’
- Avoid assumptions of ‘’normal” gender roles
In the English language words and phrases sometimes assume what a “normal” gender role should be. These are called “false generics”.
Instead of saying: ‘Female CEO’, ‘male nurse’, ‘working mother’
We suggest: ‘CEO’, ‘nurse’, ‘working parent’
Examples: using patronizing language towards women in the workplace belittles their contribution: such as ‘hey girls’, ‘dear’, ‘sweetheart’ or telling a woman who is getting fired up about something to ’calm down’ or to be less ‘bossy’.
- Trades, professions and positions
Trades, professions and positions in life are often gendered and have implicit biases attached to them
Instead of saying: ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ of a colleague
We suggest: ‘partner’ or ‘spouse’ of a colleague
Example: ‘Let’s not forget to make the reservation for the VP’s partner as well’
Instead of saying: ‘chairman’ or ‘spokesman’
We suggest: ‘chair/chairperson’ or ’spokesperson’
Example: ‘They are an excellent spokesperson for the company’
People who face additional forms of discrimination
We must avoid expressions that can further marginalize and feed prejudices about our colleagues. It is important to adopt criteria in accordance with international human rights mandates to attend to the determined needs of the people of each group and, above all, listen and respect the terminology a person uses to describe their identity.
Instead of saying: ‘The disabled’
We suggest: People with disabilities
Instead of saying: ‘Transsexual’ or ’transvestite’
Always use: transgender person / transgender people
Instead of saying: ‘biologically male’ or ‘biologically female’
We suggest: ‘assigned male at birth’ or ‘assigned female at birth’
Example: A cisgender employee can guide colleagues on proper pronoun usage. Simply saying “Sonya uses ‘she’ as a pronoun” works, as does a gentle correction in case of misgendering: “Have you seen him?” “Yes, I saw her in the lobby.”
Visual communication is an important element as it reflects the image of the company, its culture and its values. When developing advertising, and the marketing strategy of products and services, it is important to implement a fair, dignified, inclusive, balanced and non-sexist representation
The use of images that break stereotypes and gender roles
Balanced representation of all people
Representation of diversity of women and people
Surely you have heard these terms, here we tell you what they mean
It happens when a person who is a victim of a harmful or abusive act is being blamed for what has happened to them. In other words, the victim is being questioned or it is being implied that they could have done something to prevent what happened. This type of behavior has caused many people not to report different types of abuse. In the case of any form of abuse or violence against women, it is important to be clear that abuse or violence of any kind is never the victim's fault. Responsibility always lies with the perpetrator.
It happens when a man gives an explanation to a woman on some subject in a condescending way, without taking into account that she knows more about the subject and that he does not know or knows very little about the subject.
It happens when a man constantly and unnecessarily interrupts a woman when she is speaking or giving a speech.
Yes means yes
This in relation to explicit consent in sexual relations, but also in any interaction between two or more people, especially when there are very marked power dynamics.
It happens when there is involuntary appropriation of beliefs that feed stereotypes and biases against women, for example, believing that women are inferior to men.
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This toolbox is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Contract No. AID OAA-C-17-00090. The contents of this toolkit are the sole responsibility of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.