Terms you need to know
Gender-sensitive language is gender equality made manifest through language. Gender equality in language is attained when women and men – and those who do not conform to the binary gender system – are addressed through language as persons of equal value, dignity, integrity and respect.
There are number of different ways gender relationships can be expressed with accuracy, such as avoiding the use of language that refers explicitly or implicitly to only one gender and ensuring, through inclusive alternatives, the use of gender-sensitive and inclusive language.
This is not gender-specific and considers people in general, with no reference to women or men. It is also called gender-blind language.
Example of gender-neutral language: “People do not fully appreciate the impact they have on the environment”
Gender-discriminatory language is the opposite of gender-sensitive language. It includes words, phrases and/or other linguistic features that foster stereotypes, or demean or ignore women or men. At its most extreme it fails to treat the genders as equal in value, dignity, integrity and respect.
Example of gender-insensitive language: “Ambassadors and their wives are invited to attend an after-dinner reception”