Why you need to use inclusive language and how to do it (with examples) Plume Rouge (2023)

Inclusive language is the new black. But inclusive language is much more than the latest trend. Using inclusive language is something we must all consciously and collectively strive for in our personal and professional lives.

In this post, we define inclusive language, discuss why it matters, and examine how it varies across geographic and linguistic boundaries. We also provide concrete examples of inclusive language in action and describe steps you can take to ensure that you and your organization communicate inclusively.

What is inclusive language?

inclusive language meanscommunicate in a way that includes all people. It is a way of communicating that does not exclude groups of people. It can refer to individual words and phrases, as well as assumptions we make. Inclusive language – or rather the need for it – often comes up when we talk about issues like gender, disability and ethnicity.

Inclusive language is actually a pretty big canvas. Below these are subgroups such as gendered language and anti-empowerment language. But in factInclusive language is relevant to all aspects of identity, from age and appearance to religion and socioeconomic status.

Why inclusive language matters

Organizations not only need to be aware of inclusive language, but also put it into practice. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating and excluding certain groups and damaging your brand's reputation — even if your message is well-intentioned.

However, if you take an inclusive approach and use inclusive language, it can:

· Target better content for everyone.

· Show that your company is inclusive and respectful

· Show that you support often marginalized groups

· Show that you are connected with what is happening in the world

· Indicate a better understanding of the needs of a diverse customer base


· Challenge assumptions and influence worldviews

Let's take a look at two of them.

Communicate inclusively = higher quality content

It may not be as intuitive, but inclusive communication ultimately leads to higher quality content. Why? Because part of inclusive writing is plain text writing. In other words, write as clearly and simply as possible. This makes your content easier to understand for everyone of different backgrounds and abilities. And that means it has a bigger impact. It really is a win-win situation.

The use of inclusive language can shape worldviews

The way we use language really shapes the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, children who grow up with “firefighters” or “policemen” may assume that only men fill these roles. And even when they learn to open up to women and non-binary people, this learned association can be difficult to shake.

How inclusive approaches differ across languages ​​and cultures

There are different approaches to inclusive language.Languages ​​and cultures have different structures within or around which they must function., which means that inclusive language has evolved differently from one language to another. But there are also different opinions and approaches within languages. Let's get into that a little more.

gender mainstreaming in english

English is a relatively asexual language. This makes writing genre specific a little easier. But that doesn't mean that English had to adapt. In recent years, there has been a move towards gender-neutral designations for all professions. For example, a preference for using "actor" for actors of all genders, rather than the traditional terms "actor" and "actress"; "Waiter" as opposed to "waiter" and "waitress". in the same directionThe singular pronoun "they" is now commonly used as a gender-neutral option in place of "he/she" and as a non-binary pronoun.

Gender Inclusion in French

The French language is much more gender-specific than English and presents greater challenges for inclusive writing. As a result, it often requires a more creative approach.

Let's look at professions again. Interestingly, while English has moved to using just one word that applies to all genders, French has gone in the opposite direction. Feminine versions of masculine-gendered professions were coined, such as B. "Professeure" (traditionally only the masculine "professor" was used).

Pronouns and adjectives are also often feminized by adding feminine endings to words, separated by parentheses, a period, or a midpoint. So we see things like “étudiant·e” or “charge(e) de mission”.

Advocates of gender-sensitive writing in French recommend finding creative ways to avoid having to indicate a gender.. This means choosing words and rephrasing sentences so they are not gender specific. Using collective terms is a workaround. For example, use the non-genre "le lectorat" instead of "les lecteurs et les lectrices" and "la police" instead of "les policiers".

However, not everyone agrees with gender-biased writing. In fact, in May 2021, the French Ministry of Educationprohibited its use in schools and in the ministry itself, as they believe it makes reading difficult for students with dyslexia. The debate continues!

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Including language examples

So what does language look like in nature? Here are some examples of usage in English:

Use of the pronoun "they" instead of just "he" or "he/she"

· No gender indication unless relevant

Use of "Ms" instead of "Mrs" or "Miss"

Using "humanity", "human race", or "mankind" instead of "mankind"

· do not make assumptions about a person's identity, such as B. Family composition, sexuality, gender identity, race or ethnicity or ability

Use of “people with intellectual/physical disabilities” rather than people with “mental retardation” or “disability” (Note: this is a people-first approach - others may prefer an identity-first approach). comes first)

Using simple language such as "pay" or "salary" instead of "compensation"

How to write (or translate) including.

So how can you ensure inclusive communication? We've put together some important steps to get you started, but maybe theseThe most important lesson of all is to assume nothing.. This means not assuming which pronoun a person uses. Don't assume your significant other's gender. Without assuming your ethnicity, race or really any aspect of your identity.

Instead,learn to ask. For example, you can ask what pronouns a person uses. This is a great way to avoid offending them or unintentionally deleting them. It may seem strange to ask this at first, but the more times you do it, the more normal it becomes. And doing this regularly can spark some interesting conversations about identity and inclusion.

It's also worth stopping and asking yourself - do you really need to know this? Aspects of a person's identity can be very personal. To doBe sure to give people the time, space and support to reveal parts of their identities if and when they feel comfortable.furthermore.

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1. Back to basics – are you and your corporate culture inclusive?

Before you really put pen to paper, you need to lay the groundwork for inclusion. This might mean taking stock of employee and customer perceptions of inclusion, belonging, and organizational culture. We also recommend ensuring you have policies and initiatives in place to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

How much work you have to do to make your workplace inclusive depends on your starting point. But wherever you start, don't miss this step.Because only with the right mindset can you and your team understand the importance of promoting inclusion, genuinely welcoming and using inclusive language. Also, by creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce, your team will naturally become more aware and create more diverse and inclusive content.

2. lead by example

Policies or grand statements are no good if they are not backed up by actions. Your leadership team – even if it's just a team! – Must show that they believe in creating an inclusive workplace and practice what they speak using inclusive language. Make sure they know why this is important and how to do it.

3. Provide training and policies

There are two benefits to teaching your team to write – and think – inclusively. First, they learn to use inclusive language. Second, teaching these skills can help foster a more inclusive workplace.

A training session is a good start. To take it even further, why not offer inclusive language guidelines tailored to your business? so you canShow how inclusive writing relates to your brand tone. In fact, you can include inclusive writing guidelines in your style guide if you already have one. These guidelines not only show your own employees how to communicate, but can also be used by people you outsource work to, such as: For example, translators, copywriters or graphic designers.

4. Monitor, optimize and evolve

Training for you and your employees is not the end of the road. You need to check whether this is actually applied on a daily basis. An excellent way to do this is through surveys. You can use customer and employee satisfaction surveys to see how things are going and resolve issues.

The language is also constantly evolving. That meanslearning to communicate inclusively is more of a journey than a destination. It's important that you—or someone on your team—stay up-to-date with the latest guidance and considerations on inclusive writing and behavior.

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Useful resources for an inclusive language

writing in english

· The Conscious Style Guide- This site is a veritable treasure trove of information to write about many different topics including health, ethnicity and race, as well as using simple language.

· The UN publicGuidelines for using gender-sensitive languagein English

· The UK government also has guidanceincluding language when writing about disability

· HubSpot provides information abouthow to use gender neutral pronouns

writing in french

· Comunication agencykey wordsoffers manuals for inclusive writing and organizes workshops

· The inclusive language websiteoffers a free, in-depth, and comprehensive writing guide as a Google Doc

writing in other languages

· Die ONEGender-sensitive writing guidelines are also available in multiple languages.

· The EU providesInformation and instructions for writing and translatingin different EU languages

(Video) If you're frustrated learning a language, watch this...

· There is a group on LinkedIn with the name ofDiversity and Inclusion Linguistsdesigned to help language professionals write inclusively

· The Plain Language Association offers helpful resourceswith plain language around the world

Need help with inclusive translation and content creation?

Are you looking for help with inclusive content for your business in English, French, Dutch, German or Spanish? do not hesitateget in touch. We'd love to discuss how we can help.


Why do we need to use inclusive language? ›

Using inclusive language communicates with people in a way that is respectful and brings everyone into the conversation.” Inclusive language also avoids making assumptions about people, steering clear of defaults that could make a person feel alienated or unwelcome.

What is an example of inclusive language? ›

Personal pronouns, a consciously chosen set of words that allow a person to represent their gender identity accurately, are a great example of inclusive language. Pronouns include both gendered pronouns like “He” and “She” as well as gender-neutral pronouns like “They” and “Ze.”

What should you do to use inclusive language? ›

Use person-first or identity-first language as is appropriate for the community or person being discussed. The language used should be selected with the understanding that disabled people's expressed preferences regarding identification supersede matters of style. Avoid terms that are condescending or patronizing.

What is an example of inclusive language for disabilities? ›

For example, we can use expressions such as “children with albinism”, “students with dyslexia”, “women with intellectual disabilities” and, of course, “persons with disabilities”.

What does inclusive language mean simple? ›

Inclusive language is language that avoids terms that might exclude marginalized groups of people. Typically these are terms that perpetuate prejudice, stigma, or erasure. Inclusive language favors alternatives over these terms that are less likely to be experienced as harmful or exclusionary.

What is an example of inclusive teaching? ›

Child's desk is included with the other groups of desks in the classroom. Child's desk is away from the other desks in the classroom. Child has access to and is included in classroom lessons and activities that are adapted or modified to meet his/her special needs. Child works on his/her own curriculum.

What is an example of inclusive in the classroom? ›

An inclusive classroom is one that has:
  • students with mixed abilities.
  • an inclusive curriculum.
  • no separation between children based on abilities.
  • learning activities that take each students' needs into consideration.
  • accessible adaptations, such as wheelchair ramps.
  • adequate support for all students.
Nov 23, 2022

How does inclusive language work? ›

Inclusive language is not about impinging on free speech or political correctness; it is about communicating in a way that is accessible and respectful and values, includes and empowers all members of your audience. Language is dynamic and fluid and the meaning and connotations of words can change rapidly.

How do you show you are inclusive at work? ›

7 ways to be more inclusive at work
  1. Be yourself – be your authentic self.
  2. Speak up about inclusion.
  3. Think about how you communicate.
  4. Respond from a place of personal experience.
  5. Pronouns.
  6. Challenge stereotypes.
  7. Support your co-workers' differences.

What are the three examples of inclusive principles? ›

the right to access and participate in education. the ability to learn and the right to exercise their voice, choice and control in managing their own educational experiences. the right to develop to their fullest potential and to be active, valued citizens in the community.

What are examples of inclusive language in healthcare? ›

Inclusive language often uses person-first and strengths-based wordings rather than using a medical illness as a noun (e.g., “person with diabetes” rather than “a diabetic”).

What is the statement on inclusive language? ›

Valuing, respecting, and affirming an individual's identity contribute to improved health outcomes, and the language used to communicate with individuals about themselves and their communities plays a critical role in affirming identity.

What are the 3 teaching strategies for inclusive education? ›

How to Create an Inclusive Classroom: 5 Strategies & Examples
  • Create a safe learning environment.
  • Diversify learning material.
  • Taking into account students' needs.
  • Make it easy for all students to participate.
  • Develop a rapport with each student.
Dec 19, 2022

What is the best example of inclusive design? ›

Inclusive design products are accessible to as many users as possible without requiring disabled persons to buy a special model. Some examples include smartphones, automatic doors, large-grip kitchen utensils, e-readers with adjustable print sizes, and everyday voice assistants.

What are the benefits of inclusion? ›

Some of the benefits of inclusion for children with (or without) disabilities are friendship skills, peer models, problem solving skills, positive self-image, and respect for others. This can trickle down to their families as well, teaching parents and families to be more accepting of differences.

How do you answer an inclusive interview question? ›

When asked a question about diversity, discuss your direct experiences with people of different cultures. Refrain from saying you don't see color. Instead, explain the value of honoring diverse cultures and learning from others. If you are sincere in your answers to diversity questions, your true character will shine.

How do you make something more inclusive? ›

  1. 7 Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Everyday Life. ...
  2. 1 / Mindful communication: listen more, talk carefully. ...
  3. 2 / Challenge stereotypes. ...
  4. 3 / Avoid assumptions. ...
  5. 4 / Ask yourself and others (the right) questions. ...
  6. 5 / Be aware of your privileges. ...
  7. 6 / Be proactive in educating yourself on the topic.
Jul 25, 2019

What is inclusive language in the classroom? ›

Using gendered language such as “girls and boys”, “ladies and gentlemen” can be alienating for gender non-conforming and gender diverse students. Avoid this by using vocabulary such as “students”, “class”, “crew”, “everyone”, “people” or “year X”, which is more inclusive.

How do you use inclusive language at school? ›

Model inclusive language
  1. Ask your students what their pronouns are and follow-up by using the correct ones identified by your students. ...
  2. Use language that is truly generic: ...
  3. When you use American idioms, explain them for the benefit of non-native English speakers.


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