Language matters

Over time, the language we use gets embedded, normalised and often passes by unquestioned. However, terminology can have an unintentional effect of marginalising people and groups.

Don’t assume that everyone from a particular group wants to be referred to by the same terminology. If in doubt, ask them.

Here are some words and phrases where more inclusive substitutions can be made:

Replace With
Suffers from (eg disability) Lives with or has
Disabled person Person with disability
Disabled toilet Accessible toilet
Minorities Under-represented groups
Manning the phones Staffing or operating the phones
Man hours Work hours
Husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend Partner
Mother, father Parent
Ladies and gentlemen Everyone, all, assembled guests
Guys (eg hi guys) Folks, team
Normal Typical
Chairman Chair, chairperson
Christian name First name or full name
Mankind Humanity or people
Page reviewed 8 April 2021