Inclusive Language

As the CII continues their diversity and inclusion journey, the language we use to describe identities can be used to galvanise inclusion and create a more welcoming environment for our local institute network.

Reflecting on the way we communicate means making the effort to understand the way that language unconsciously makes assumptions about people and reinforces dominant norms.

The guide below is intended to act as a point of reference for CII colleagues and stakeholders to help identify appropriate language and provides practical examples of preferred terms and phrases applicable to both oral and written communications. It is not by any means exhaustive or definitive, as language is a live thing that continuously evolves and appropriate terminology changes as culture and society shifts.

Offensive language includes words and phrases that:

Reinforce stereotypes
Reinforce derogatory labels
Exclude certain groups of people through assumptions, e.g. assuming white population is the norm
Patronise or trivialise certain groups of people
Cause discomfort or offence

The focus of these guidelines is not on protected characteristics, but on situations in which non-inclusive terms can inadvertently infiltrate communication.

As it happens, most of these situations revolve around protected characteristics.

The guide can be downloaded below.

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