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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

February 25, 2020

Civil Rights Tip: Using Gender Neutral Language

Submitted by Jennifer R Wilson

An excellent question came in this week as a local unit was working on their civil rights compliance review. "What does it mean when we ask for examples of sex-neutral language?"

Gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language avoids bias toward one particular sex or social gender. Examples of gender neutral language would be using the term "chairperson" instead of "chairman," "police officer" instead of "policeman," or saying "I need help staffing a booth at the fair" instead of "I need someone to man the booth." Using they as a pronoun instead of he/she is another example.

Our KSRE program flyers and other materials should use gender neutral language. The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina provides additional guidance on their website.

Keep up the great work in completing the local unit reviews!