This toolkit is one of a series of documents produced by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to raise awareness about gender sensitive language.
This toolkit provides guidelines for the use of gender-sensitive language in writing. Although it provides tips and examples for the English language, the underlying principles for gender-sensitive writing are universal and remain relevant when using other languages.
Objectives of the Toolkit
The key objectives of this document are to:
- raise awareness about the importance of gender-sensitive language;
- provide practical examples of what gender-biased and gender-discriminatory communication is and how to avoid it;
- provide practical tools and advice for policymakers and all those involved in the drafting of documents for the public so that these texts are gendersensitive and inclusive for all members of the society;
- provide useful checklists and examples for users.
The toolkit can support a broad audience of international English speakers. However it focusses on policymakers, policy advisors, legislators, writers, editors and the media.
What you will find in the toolkit and how to use it
This toolkit provides practical guidance on how to use gender-sensitive language when writing documents and includes several examples.
We have divided the toolkit into six chapters:
- Chapter 1 (the chapter you are reading right now) is here to help you understand what this toolkit is and how to use it.
- Chapter 2 explains key terms you need to know to understand gender-sensitive language, as well as giving you the key principles that underpin inclusive language.
- Chapter 3 looks at the policies of European organisations that seek to encourage gender- sensitive language.
- Chapter 4 lays out common challenges when using gender-sensitive language and provides examples of
gender-sensitive language and do’s and don’ts.
- Chapter 5 enables you to test your understanding of the lessons from Chapter 4 through longer text examples.
- Chapter 6 contains checklists and summary tables to help you understand if you are using `gender-savvy’ language in your writing
Key Principles for Inclusive Language Use
You should aim to follow these principles if you wish to make your language inclusive and transformative:
- Recognise and challenge stereotypes.
- Be inclusive and avoid omission and making others invisible.
- Be respectful and avoid trivialisation and subordination.
If you succeed in following these principles you are well on your way to becoming a user of gender-sensitive language and you should find yourself naturally following the rest of the guidance in this toolkit.
This toolkit is an easy-to-use guide on how to use more gender-sensitive language.