This post is also available in: Deutsch
The issue of “gendering” – differentiating grammatically between the genders – is a much-discussed topic, particularly in the German-speaking world. Acceptance of the practice demonstrates a level of inclusion. And here at NORMA Group we are all for it. That is because the equal presentation of genders is a matter of course for us.
When a society evolves, it is only natural that this evolution is also reflected in the language of that society. Language lives from tradition and change, from exchange, creativity, sensory impressions and consensus and most importantly from the fact that we use it. And for us to use it, it must change – because our world changes, our knowledge changes, our attitudes change and our ideas change. To put it briefly: Our language needs change.
Equality among all genders is a matter of course
In accordance with its diversity mission statement, NORMA Group creates an environment of mutual respect for everyone combined with equal opportunity regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, world view, disability, age, sexual orientation or identity. Consequently, this principle of fairness should also be reflected in the language used at NORMA Group. For NORMA Group, a fair, equal representation of the genders in language is more than just a polite gesture: It is a matter of course.
Trainings on the use of gender-inclusive language
In order to familiarize employees in the company with gender-inclusive language, the Group Communications and Corporate Responsibility departments at NORMA Group organized training sessions in German and English for all those interested.
The aim was to give participants information about what gender-inclusive language actually is. The trainings also provided an overview of the purpose and the various recommendations for using language that reflects gender equality.
The trainings were very well received. Participants were receptive to the topic and there was a lively exchange of ideas and information among all participants. This led to a discussion about additional tips and suggestions and the creation of new ideas to enable equal representation of all genders.
“The inclusion of all genders plays a major role in the company”, says Kim Schmiedel, Manager Corporate Responsibility. “Together with my colleague Kim Bösken, working student in the Group Communications department, it is really rewarding for me to raise awareness of gender-inclusive language at NORMA Group through our trainings. Learning together not only moves the company forward, it also helps each individual employee.”
A step toward greater gender equality
At NORMA Group, we too are very much aware that gender-inclusive language does not equate to real equality and that change is always difficult. Having said that, however, it is also clear that language helps to shape how we perceive the world. Gendering has the potential to provide a boost to equality.
There is no one right way to gender. But we have chosen to incorporate gender-inclusive language into the way we speak on a daily basis. Not always and not everywhere, but always and everywhere where it is appropriate – so that all genders feel equally addressed.