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.


Posted on February 17th, 2010 by

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