“Ultimately, inclusive language is just about making sure that people are treated with kindness, compassion and the respect for how we would want to be treated ourselves.”
These were the words of Megan Key, Diversity Manager at Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, during our Inclusive Language Brave Chat.
Facilitated by RightTrack Learning’s Paula Whelan, Megan delved into what inclusive language really is, what an inclusive environment looks like and the tangible actions which organisations can take.
The interactive webinar provided attendees with an insightful discussion, with Paula and Megan sharing their lived experiences around inclusive language.
So, what did we learn?
Well it’s safe to say an hour was not long enough for this session!
An inclusive environment is many things…
“Whether that’s a policy that’s got inclusive language, promotional material, having conversations around your organisation about eqality, diversity and inclusion, listening to people, giving people the opportunity to talk about their lived experience, organising conversations with staff or bringing in external people with lived experiences – it’s about creating a feel that, even if I am a marginalised person, when I step into work I am able to see that I am included.”
We get it wrong. Nobody knows everything…
“We are human beings – we get it wrong. Just remember your intentions. If your intentions are good and honourable and you’re trying to make the world and your office a better place, if you’re trying to include people and be kind, then give yourself a break if you get it wrong. Of course, in the moment it could provoke an emotional reaction because that’s a human response, isn’t it? It’s important to defuse a situation and create a space where you might talk about it at a later stage.”
Take responsibility for your own learning…
“It might be more complicated initially for you to understand somebody’s experience that’s different to yours. Of course it is because you only live in your skin, don’t you? But a willingness to participate in that discourse and that dialogue will make your workplace an attractive place to be. It will make people happier and and all of us can learn something about people and you’ve got tools to help you on that journey. You’ve got interventions like this, workshops, webinars, D&I consultants, and you’ve got people you can follow on Instagram, books, YouTube videos – a whole host of many ways to do the work yourself.”
Alongside the 60 minute discussion, RightTrack Learning produced an Inclusive Language Guide, complete with guidance, principles and examples to better improve communication.
Following the session, Megan also pulled together a list of resources to help you on your journey:
I do a lot of podcasting because I think it’s a great way to learn about people’s experiences that aren’t like me.
There are lots of books out these days exploring marginalized experiences from memoirs to history. I’m a huge book reader and I tend to buy novels by authors who are different from me, set in different places or translated from different languages.
- The Transgender Issue – Shon Faye
- Hood Feminism – Mikki Kendall
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Renni Eddo-Lodge
- Disability Visibility – Alice Wong
- Jews Don’t Count – David Baddiel
- Unicorn – Amrou Al- Kadhi
- Don’t Touch my Hair – Emma Dabiri
- They: What Muslims and Non Muslims Get Wrong About Each Other – Sarfraz Manzoor
- Natives – Akala
- Trans Power – Juno Roche
- Hunger – Roxane Gay
This is just a snippet of films I’ve enjoyed lately that educate and entertain.
- CODA – Apple TV (deaf experiences)
- Sound of Metal – Amazon Prime (deaf experiences)
- Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen – Netflix (trans experiences)
- The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson – Netflix (prominent trans activist)
- Crip Camp – Netflix (disability focus)
- Moonlight – Netflix (LGBT)
- Judas and The Black Messiah – Netflix (historical)
There are many activists I follow. Follow some and you will get suggestions for more!
- Jameela Jamil
- Alok Vmenon
- Jonathan Van Ness
- Black Trans Foundation
- Gendered Intelligence
- UK Black Pride
- Lady Phyll
- Stephanie Yeboah
- Munroe Bergdorf
- Gina Martin
- Megan Jayne Crabbe
- Emma Dabiri
- Jari Jones
- Josie Rones
- Sophie Hagen
- Ashlee Marie Preston
- Jamie Windust
No matter how unbiased people think they are, studies show that candidates aren’t always shortlisted and selected based on their merits. Unless we have mitigating strategies in place, ethnicity, gender, name, educational background and even physical size, strength of handshake or visibility of tattoos can influence decision making – often without people even realising.
The Inclusive Recruitment training programme is designed to equip those involved in the recruitment process with practical strategies to help ensure it is a fair and unbiased process.