Author: Reem Alrayah Osman Eisa | Published on 1 March 2024


Question: How can we be more gender-balanced when talking with colleagues?

Answer: By using gender-balanced language

Here are some tips/ideas on how to make our staffrooms more gender-balanced:

  • Instead of using pronouns like 'he' or 'she' use the gender pronoun 'they' if you do not know the gender, or simply refer to the person by their name.
  • Instead of using titles such, as 'Mr.' or 'Mrs.' use gender neutral titles like 'Mx.' or 'Dr.' Avoid using gendered job titles and instead opt for gender neutral terms. For example use 'firefighter' instead of 'fireman', or 'police officer' instead of 'policeman'.
  • When referring to a group of people, use gender-balanced terms. Instead of saying 'guys' or 'ladies and gentlemen' consider using terms like 'everyone' or simply address them as 'folks'. Do not make assumptions about someone’s gender when discussing work related tasks or roles. Use language that encompasses all individuals, such as referring to them with a term like 'person' or 'someone.'
  • When discussing parental leave policies and benefits, use terms like the 'caregiver' rather than explicitly mentioning maternity leave for women and paternity leave for men.
  • Offer individuals the opportunity to specify their pronouns at meetings and in forums. Allow them to do the same with other communication channels, such as when choosing email signatures.
  • Cultivate an environment that promotes inclusivity and respect by encouraging open conversations in staff rooms about gender identity. Encourage individuals to express their gender preferences and utilise gendered language if they so choose.