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Words Matter Part 1

As part of our parent company Independence Matters CIC, Norfolk Industries has been provided with a document to be mindful about the impact of the words that we use when at work.  Part of this document is the subject of gender neutral.

Gender and Identity: Sometimes the language surrounding gender and identity can feel like a minefield, with many people too afraid of saying the wrong thing or being fearful of asking in case they cause offence. It’s possible we may get it wrong on occasions but, it shouldn’t put us off trying to use the right language. We just need to be mindful and respectful and try to understand people’s life experiences and viewpoints. Using Gender Neutral language is a way of talking about people without assuming their gender. For example, you might refer to someone you don’t know as “they” rather than using “he” or “she”.
E.g. “I met the new person on the team, and they were very professional”.
You might also address a group of people as “everyone”, rather than saying, “ladies and gentlemen”.
E.g. “Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the meeting today”.

You can’t always guess what someone’s preferred pronouns are by their appearance. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is a way to show respect for their gender identity.
If you are unsure, you could ask the person:
E,g. “What pronouns do you use?”
E.g. “What pronouns would you like me to use?”

Just remember that the  words we use can be hurtful, presumptive and disrespectful, and although this feels complex, we should at least try our best to address people how they wish to be addressed.  Everyone is precious and individual, we should celebrate this.  No judgements here.