There are several examples of gender-neutral language that can be used to promote inclusivity in the workplace.
You may not know how to use gender-neutral language as this isn’t taught in schools.
Gone are the days when you could just walk into a room and say ‘ladies and gentlemen’, especially when there are gender-non-conforming people present.
People who identify as Non-Binary, gender fluid, etc, want to feel seen, respected, and safe.
So on that note, here are 10 examples of gender-neutral language you can use in the office.
Examples of Gender-Neutral Language
If you’re trying to write a letter or mail to someone at work and you’re not sure what they identify as or their pronouns, start your mail/letter with Mx.
Instead of saying Sir or Ma say Mx. Or you can address them by their full name.
As earlier stated you can’t use the words ladies and gentlemen – it’s non-inclusive. So in place of that say everyone or folks.
This pronoun is used to refer to a group of individuals or just one individual whose identity is unknown.
And this is why it’s the appropriate gender-neutral pronoun to use in place of she/he.
4. Businessperson or Business Representative
This gender-neutral word is used in place of you probably guessed it, businessman and businesswoman.
5. Chairperson or Chair
This is used in place of chairwoman or chairman.
6. Workforce or Workers
This gender-neutral word is a replacement for manpower.
So if you want to refer to the number of people working or providing any service say workforce or Workers.
Here’s an instance – the workforce may be small but quite productive.
This word is used in place of manned. Manned is used to refer to running, operating, or defending a place or item.
So instead of saying – This project shall be manned by the advertising team say – ” this project shall be crewed by the advertising team.”
The word performer is used in place of actor or actress.
Here’s an example of how you can use it in a sentence – the performer has been nominated for several Emmy awards.
9. The Average Person
This is used in place of the common man or the layman.
Whenever you’re trying to make a statement referring to the majority of the populace or the average human being, use the words “the average person”.
An example is “the average person breathes 11,000 liters of air per day”.
10. Toughen Up
This phrase should be used in place of man up for inclusivity.
So you should say “New interns must toughen up to survive” not “New interns must man up to survive.”
How To Remember Gender-Neutral Language Examples
Using gender-neutral language is new for some of you and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
In fact, it’s commendable that you’re trying to learn how to use it to make your gender-neutral colleagues feel safe.
Committing these examples to memory can be a bit tough.
So here are a few things you can do.
1. Be Patient with yourself
If you make a mistake by misgendering someone or using a gendered word/phrase. Don’t dwell on it and let it weigh you down. Apologize, move forward, and keep trying.
2. Accept Feedback
A gender-fluid or non-binary person is in the best place to tell you the terms to use with and for them. So if you receive some tips and suggestions from them, be grateful and take it as a learning experience.
3. Be Open-Minded
Change is the only constant thing, this is why the English language is forever changing and its vocabulary ever expanding. So it’s best not to be stuck on one thing, evolve with the times so you will not be left behind.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Teach Others
Even though you’re still getting used to this new language, you can still teach others. Show them why using gender-neutral language is important and teach them a few examples.
5. Have an Accontability Parter
Have an accountability partner that’ll remind you to always use gender-neutral language, especially in situations where it’s easy to forget.
A partner will also teach you other examples of gender-neutral to add to your vocabulary.
Gender Neutral Language Examples
Using gender-neutral language in the workplace is very important to help nonbinary and gender-fluid folks feel represented and safe.
Start by incorporating gender-neutral pronouns like they/them and then replace words like chairman, Mr/Mrs, and actress/actor with gender-neutral words like chairperson, Mx, and performer.
Using gender-neutral language may prove tricky at first, but with consistency, an accountability partner, and some open-mindedness, the language will come easy to you.
Doing this will certainly help you build great friendships and flourish in your workplace.