President Obama is Gender Neutral?

I’m not casting aspersions on his masculinity! Simply that his use of language in his inauguration speech is a brilliant example of  inclusive language.

Language is so important and unthinking use of terms like forefathers and men peppering a speech, can send a very different message, however subtle.

I’m often asked when coaching why I think some organisations have so few women in senior positions. It’s never a simple answer but a quick look through their literature and company documents often gives a good clue as to any underlying (often unwitting) bias.

For example, think how attitudes were helped to change when we started talking about fire-FIGHTERS instead of fire-MEN, or police OFFICERS not simply police-MEN.

Here’s an article on this topic which I think you’ll find very interesting. The writer has looked at Obama’s inauguration speech which is a tour de force of non gender specific language.

And if you have any examples from your workplace of language that is NOT gender neutral, please share it with us.

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Posted on February 17th, 2010 by

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