BWL introduces an Inclusive Language Guide
BWL has introduced an inclusive language guide for use in bidding and marketing. We have developed and implemented the guide based on subconscious biases; we are all biased in some way to a greater or lesser extent – prejudiced toward people based on identity factors such as gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and disability. Our biases are often formed in our early years and develop over time.
We should try our best to acknowledge our biases, striving to be bias-free and inclusive, treating all people with respect and dignity, particularly in our professional communications.
The usage of language in business is continuously evolving to encompass and accommodate changes in society and a new understanding of historical perspectives. Many of our customers are realising that the way they use language can either include or exclude certain groups, as well as show potentially unwelcome biases.
Many common terms in business and technology have origins and connotations that can be viewed as exclusionary or biased. With only minor changes, we can use inclusive and bias-free alternatives.
At BWL Professional Bid Services, in line with our aim of treating all our clients, stakeholders and, indeed, anyone with whom we communicate with the dignity and respect with which we’d hope to be treated, we are developing and implementing a guide to help all our people write and speak inclusively and without bias.
Our clients and their customers have diverse needs, goals, identities, and perspectives. We aim to reach these varied audiences without excluding anyone. We often write for an audience about whose own stories and personal backgrounds we know little, and therefore reducing bias and maximising inclusivity is paramount in building trust and establishing credibility.
To achieve these goals, BWL aims to enshrine several principles in our writing:
- We will be conscious of the words and images we choose; mindful of how the language, images, and graphics we use characterise or frame people, situations, or communities.
- We will avoid assumptions and descriptions that reinforce stereotypes; for example, women in secretarial or administrative roles, and men in engineering or technical roles.
- We will be specific when appropriate; avoiding drawing undue or irrelevant attention to particular backgrounds or identities.
- We will use people-first language; for example, “a person with a disability”, rather than “a disabled person”. Some groups, however, prefer to be represented with identity characteristics, so we will ask them and respect their choice.
- We will use parallel context and equal portrayal; for example, avoiding the use of images where men work and women observe, and not stating characteristics for one party but not another where it is not relevant – e.g. “Max Verstappen beat black driver, Lewis Hamilton, in the recent Grand Prix”.
- Where we are unsure; we will look it up or ask the community in question what their preferred terminology is.
- We will be willing to change; We will, no doubt, make mistakes as we consciously implement inclusive, bias-free language. We will acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them.