Inclusive Language Guide for Tech Companies and Startups

Thaisa Fernandes
Published in
7 min readAug 10, 2020

Language is one of the most powerful tools we have as human beings, and it’s extremely important to make sure we’re using it to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome. Therefore, we need to ensure that language evolves over the years so as to not exclude people.

It’s crucial to keep an open mind and understand that there’s always something we can do to better include marginalized groups so that they don’t feel discriminated against because of their culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, ethnicity, race or socioeconomic status.

This is a subject that I deeply care about so I decided to write about my thoughts and what I have been doing. The main goal of this post is to bring awareness and promote conversation so that we can benefit and learn from each other.

Having English as my second language may have helped me to see non-inclusive language in common expressions, but also may have prevented me from seeing other non-inclusive communications because I might not even fully understand the meaning at first. After I saw the below tweet, I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I decided to learn more and reset the way I was communicating.

I want to propose an exercise. Let’s not focus on what we think and what is important to us. Some changes might seem unnecessary to you or your friends because they don’t affect your life or existence in the world. Let’s keep in mind that these changes might make people or groups feel more welcome in places or discussions where they didn’t feel welcome before.

Let’s also keep in mind that using inclusive language is not always enough. You can still hurt or disrespect someone even when you use inclusive language because of the way the communication can make them feel. So, let’s be mindful of that too.

We’ll probably make many mistakes. What matters is our willingness to try, to keep an open mind, and to strive to improve. Of course, we can ask for forgiveness even if it was a…

Thaisa Fernandes
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