Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Sexism & Patriarchy Gender-Neutral Language, Why it is so important? Reply To: Gender-Neutral Language, Why it is so important?

Yash Tiwari
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The practice of gender-neutral language aims to eliminate or neutralize the gender and other social biases adults would unconsciously transmit to children through their use of language. So parents, teachers, caregivers, nurses, doctors, or anyone who interacts with a child should be mindful of using language that doesn’t bias the child toward masculine or feminine stereotypes, as well as words that do not reflect existing social inequalities. Gender-neutral language does not necessarily mean gender-neutral thought. The language we use can influence how we think, but it can’t reliably change it. Instead, language is merely a tool: Gender-neutral language is a tool for achieving fairness and equality by making sure that everyone is included and no one is marginalized or excluded based on gender.

The major reason for gender-neutral language is to ensure that your writing is inclusive of information and ideas from all sexes and all social genders, not just those of the male perspective. Gender-neutral language is important because it’s the polite, respectful, and thoughtful thing to do. It makes a statement about the society we want to live in and helps us achieve it. Gender-fair language is more than just a fad – it’s a valuable way of helping set the record straight. Bias in the language is bias embedded in thought. When words are used to only describe one sex or social gender, they assume that the other is normal and therefore doesn’t need to be described. The result is a subconscious bias that permeates people’s thoughts.

Gender-fair and inclusive language are sensitive to and respectful of the differences between women and men. It is a guide for our communication with others, in our communities, and our schools. In this period when there is a growing awareness about the power of language to perpetuate stereotypes, two simple convictions have coalesced. They are that everyone has equal rights – no exceptions; and that the English language can be used to express ideas and attitudes that promote equality among women and men. Over the past decade or so, increased attention has been given to gender-fair and inclusive language by museums, cultural institutions, schools, and professional associations. It may seem like an odd thing to spend a lot of time thinking about. But it has some big and immediate practical implications for the way we all work, leading to discomfort for both women and men, and also some pretty serious consequences for gender equality. Everyone needs to care about this.

A growing number of social movements such as the LGBT and feminist communities view gender-neutral language as a way to include persons who feel their gender does not align with this bimodal system. Such individuals have always existed; it’s just that more and more people are becoming aware of the diverse nature of the gender spectrum. You would be surprised to discover how many people today identify as non-binary! And the reason this is so is that we are finally putting an end to all the old, unhealthy ways of thinking.

At the heart of many organizations is the desire to maximize diversity, which most people understand as open access to opportunities and resources. But for today’s workforce, this is not enough. Today’s work environment involves understanding differences, celebrating them, and integrating them into the fabric of everyday life. `Gender-neutral language’ is important because using it helps you appeal to everyone, and being inclusive encourages the best employees to apply, fosters respect among colleagues of all genders, and demonstrates that you value diversity.