Language holds immense power. Words are the way we understand the world around us. They’re the method we use to “translate” and “transmit” our thoughts and feelings to others. However, that power goes both ways—words can be used to influence our perception of the world (and others) by creating or reinforcing biases.
Inclusive language plays a pivotal role in fostering a diverse, equitable, and accessible environment. I’ll explore the unique importance of inclusive language in the technology industry by highlighting its impact on representation, reviewing some common industry terms that could be improved, and ways language can improve accessibility design.
But first, I want to explain why this is important to BizStream.
At the very top of our About page, you’ll see a single sentence: “It’s always about the people, whether it’s clients, employees and their families, or our communities.” It’s the first thing you see because it’s the most important thing to us. We have an entire page dedicated to our community involvement, and we’ve even been named an Inclusive Workplace by Best Companies Group and COLOR Magazine. We strive to make positive impacts within our organization, within our communities, and within the technology industry—and at the center of it all is making sure that people feel empowered.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) drives innovation, creates a better work environment, improves customer understanding, and enhances decision-making. By embracing DEI, organizations can tap into a variety of perspectives, attract top talent, and develop products that meet the diverse needs of their customers. But it’s more than just commercial success to us—we believe that a fair and inclusive workplace aligns with our principles of treating everyone with dignity and respect.
The technology industry has long struggled to create inclusive and equitable environments. Statistics reveal that women, people of color, and individuals from other marginalized communities are often underrepresented in tech roles and leadership positions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, African American individuals accounted for 7.9% of the computer and mathematical occupations workforce in the United States, despite representing 14.9% of the population. Hispanic/Latino individuals represented 8.4% in those same occupations, while making up 16% of the population.
In that same study, women represented only about 26.5% of the computer and mathematical occupations workforce.
Inclusive language is a crucial step toward dismantling these barriers. By using language that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity, we create a more welcoming industry that encourages participation and bridges the representation gap.
By actively identifying and replacing non-inclusive language with more inclusive alternatives, we can foster an environment that promotes equality, respect, and inclusivity within the technology industry. It is essential to be mindful of the impact our language choices can have and continuously strive for improvement.
Inclusive language also has a direct line to designing for accessibility. Using clear, concise, and inclusive terminology ensures that digital interfaces and content are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Learn more about creating an inclusive web experience here.
Inclusive language is not just a buzzword; it requires an honest and dedicated approach to make a real impact. I’ve had colleagues in the past roll their eyes at “political correctness” and bemoan any effort of inclusive language. But the thing to keep in mind is that it’s not about checking a box, it’s about being open to the thoughts and feelings of the people around you. It’s about creating a dialogue of transparency, openness, and inclusion to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
console.log( 'Code is Poetry' );
Stay up to date on what BizStream is doing and keep in the loop on the latest in marketing & technology.