Blogs > How To Employ Gender-Inclusive Language in Your Work Emails and Letters
August 25, 2022 RAVEN5
The article Making Letters and Emails Gender-Inclusive, by Josephine Versace, discusses how gender-inclusive writing in the workplace can help Canadian workplaces become more inclusive. The article focuses on how writers can adapt by learning how to write email correspondence that includes people of both sexes and people who identify as non-binary genders.
In formal emails or letters, the salutation “Dear Mr., Mr., Miss, or Ms.” indicates the recipient’s gender when the recipient’s last name is known. When the recipient is unknown, we are taught to start a letter or email with “Dear Sir or Madame,” which refers to both genders.
The Translation Bureau of Canada suggests that writers avoid beginning their emails or letters with salutation titles and only use the receiver’s given name. Instead of Dear Mr. Gene Apple-Bottom, the letter or email would be addressed to Gene Apple-Bottom (Dear Gene Apple-Bottom). If the recipient is unknown, the recipient could be addressed as Dear/Hello/Hi Colleague, Homeowner, Taxpayer, and so on.
The article goes into greater detail and explains gender-inclusive writing within a letter or email body. The Translation Bureau of Canada advises that writers use gender-inclusive nouns. The sentence, “If your husband/wife is attending the Gala, please let us know as soon as possible,” should be written as “If your spouse is attending the Gala, please let us know as soon as possible.” By doing this, the writer is not specifying gender.
The same goes for using gender-inclusive pronouns. Second-person pronouns should be used when composing emails and letters instead of third-person pronouns. For example, instead of writing, “The applicant must send his or her application,” the sentence should simply say, “Send your application.” Third-person pronouns his and her (he or she) are replaced with second-person pronouns you (yours).
The final and most popular suggestion from the Translation Bureau is that writers learn to use the singular “they” when writing emails or letters to refer to a singular non-specific noun. The article suggests that if a writer cannot use any of the suggestions summarized above, referring to a person as “they” (or one of its forms) may be the only solution for gender-inclusive writing. Instead of “He will be waiting outside,” writers should write, “They will be waiting outside.”
To learn more about the 104 concept on Gender and Sexual Diversity please visit: https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/publications/diversite-diversity-eng.html
To read the full article please visit: https://www.noslangues-ourlanguages.gc.ca/en/blogue-blog/inclusifs-gender-inclusive-eng?wbdisable=true
Naa Mensah, Oakville, ON, August 2022