Udisha Srivastav - Why We Must Use Gender-Neutral Languages?

Knowingly or unknowingly, much of the vocabulary that we use in our day-to-day lives ignore women, and not just women but also individuals who don’t recognize them as solely male or female. While LGBTQ activists and linguists have yelled for a more extensive terminology, yet we still plunge particularly low. If we can bring just slight tweaks to our language, we can go a long way to honor women and non-binary people. It may have an extra windfall of boosting general gender parity!

The continual references that are directly synonymous with men, may somewhat be not acceptable to women and individuals across the gender spectrum. In addition, constantly shifting everyone into male and female groups makes us less diverse and tries to fit us all in small boxes.  

The Language We Use Impacts!

Is it probable that our language impacts the way we observe the world? Several surveys reveal that the language in which we communicate can mold the way we think. For example, an analysis led by Lera Boroditsky at Stanford University noticed how the languages we recite affect our opinions and beliefs. 

Some surveys even illustrate that our attitude can alter according to the language we use to communicate, implying a person who uses many languages can have various characters, each confiding on the terminology that someone is using at the time.

Language Echoes And Impacts Attitudes

Our language, the manner in which we speak, how we interact with each other, and our thoughts are impacted to a huge extent by our incredible culture and the community in which we live. Nonetheless, we still discover illustrations of specific words and tones that reveal a society that is behind the periods, differing from today. Thereby, just as the community and society progress and shift, the manner we communicate should also revise to be in line with the present.

Why Gender-neutral Language Matters?

With rising awareness, people are caressing gender-neutral languages. As per the Gender-Neutral Language Guidelines by the European Parliament, “Gender-neutral language is a generic term covering the use of non-sexist language.”

Why is it significant? Gender-neutral language matters because, not only does it comprise all people and groups, preventing discriminating terms, but it also improves social transition and renders to accomplishing gender equality. The language indicates and impacts attitudes, thus, if we expect to behave equally toward all genders we want to first, alter the way we communicate.

Here are some examples of gendered nouns and alternatives we can use.

Gendered noun – Mankind

Gender-neutral noun – Humankind

Gendered noun – Chairman

Gender-neutral noun – Chair

Gendered noun – Policeman

Gender-neutral noun – Police Officer

Gendered noun – Fireman

Gender-neutral noun – Fire Fighter

Gendered noun – Sir (“Dear Sir,”)

Gender-neutral noun – To Whom It May Concern


We also want to avoid attitudes that enhance gender stereotypes like “she walks like a girl” or “men don’t cry”. It may seem like we have a far way to go, but by bringing these small alterations, we can pave the path to the way of living in a more equal world for everyone.

Image courtesy: Lattice

Udisha Srivastav is a Freelance Content Writer with Femsay.com