Language influences the way we think. It reveals what we think. It creates certain images in our minds. It can determine our actions, and is an expression of our values and norms. Those who speak and write only about men leave women and other identities out of the picture. But there are other ways of doing it. After all, language is constantly changing and evolving, and speakers – those who use a language – play a part in inducing, influencing and shaping this change.
Gender-neutral language reflects gender diversity – women, men and non-binary people. At TIB, we wish to use gender-neutral language in an effort to increase the visibility of diverse gender realities and to address all genders. Gender-sensitive wording means using and applying language in a way that ensures that all people are addressed in an equally visible and appreciative way.
Our way of writing
In German texts, TIB uses the “gender colon”, which stands for the diversity of gender identities (using the German word for employees as an example: Mitarbeiter:innen – the male form + gender colon + the female suffix). As an alternative to forms that make gender visible, TIB also uses gender-neutral forms such as substantive participles or adjectives to name groups of people (for example: Mitarbeitende (literally meaning people who work), Studierende (literally meaning people who study)).
We do our best to use gender-neutral language and to include all people. We will undoubtedly make mistakes in the process, given that it is a learning process for us, too. We look forward to receiving your constructive feedback.