Inclusive Language Guide

A guide for language decisions

Inclusive language conveys respect to all people, communicates a message effectively, and acknowledges diversity.

This guide is a research-backed tool designed to help a global audience of English speakers think through inclusive terminology decisions.

First time here? We recommend gathering context first.

Language impacts how people feel and think.

It can make people feel like they belong, or be used to discriminate. Simply updating language use to be more inclusive can't solve everything, but it can be a tool used alongside other efforts.

Language is nuanced and always changing.

Relying on a fixed list of words that should or shouldn't be used isn't a sustainable solution. Instead, our guide focuses on learning and establishing a mindset around inclusive language.

Use this guide to navigate language decisions.

By engaging with this resource, you can assess whether expressions are harmful or inclusive and respectful, and come to your own conclusions about your language use. It takes you through a guide of research-backed questions and provides handy resources and recommendations along your journey.

Leverage our suite of resources around inclusive language.

This guide can be used with a variety of other inclusive language resources. For instance, our snapshot tool shows examples of words and phrases we've reviewed using this guide. To learn more, check out these common questions about inclusive language.

When to use this guide

Here are some examples for when to use this guide:

We're using a word on our website, and I'm not sure if we should change it.
Someone used non-inclusive language, and I want to talk with them about it.
These are cases where the Inclusive Language Guide can help!

While this guide applies beyond the contexts above, it may not be sufficient by itself in all situations. For instance, if you're interested in checking an entire body of text for non-inclusive language, or determining demographic or identity terms, you may need to consult additional resources. To learn more, check out these common questions about inclusive language.

How to use this guide

Walk through a series of guiding questions to help you think more deeply about language choices and whether or not they're inclusive.

As with other aspects of Equity Fluent Leadership, engaging with inclusive language practices is an ongoing journey. We all make mistakes; what's important is that we don't shy away from difficult conversations, and that we strive to do better. You can view a static graphic of the guide, or check out a demo of the guide in action.

Common questions about inclusive language