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Ultimate guide to gender-inclusive language (free download)

Gender-inclusive language & plain communication toolkit cover image. Text says Gender-inclusive language; free Aurora50 toolkit. Picture courtesy of Freepik
Suzanne Locke 5 March 2024

There are two sides to inclusive communication:

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  • being inclusive in the language you use
  • communicating plainly and simply, so your message is widely understood.

We are focusing on gender-inclusive (or gender-neutral) language in this free, downloadable toolkit.

Chairman – a gendered occupation

Gender can seem a minefield when it comes to language. Get it wrong and you could be alienating half your audience.

English may be less gendered than other languages, but there are still plenty of gendered references:

  • gendered terms & occupations (like ‘chairman’)
  • female vs woman (and biology vs gender)
  • pronouns (like ‘they’, ‘who’ or ‘one’)
  • masculine bias in job adverts (adjectives like ‘driven’)

Avoid corporate ‘jibber-jabber’

Being inclusive also means good communication with your audience:

After ensuring your communication is gender-inclusive… pare it back even further.

“Inclusive language is better than exclusive language.”

Barack Obama, former US president

Ambiguous language and corporate ‘jibber jabber’ can make things appear unnecessarily complicated.

Simple, plain communication is easier to understand than complicated, wordy sentences.

That makes it more inclusive. And it also makes common sense.

The 1.5 – 2 billion non-native English speakers outnumber native speakers of English by five to one.

Non-verbal & digital communications

Finally don’t forget other forms of communication:

  • the non-verbal kind in face-to-face interactions – the things you do, rather than the things you say
  • the digital components, such as the diversity in the images you use.

A gender-equal world is a more inclusive, diverse and equitable world. Let’s #inspireinclusion.

Download gender-inclusive language toolkit