Inclusive Communication in Spanish language: Reasons to Integrate It into Your Public Relations Strategy

27 Jun 2023

Drawing upon my extensive twelve-year experience in the field of communication and public relations and having recently completed a decade working at LF Channel, a PR agency dedicated to strong commitment to inclusion, I would like to discuss the significance of inclusive communication and how we can incorporate it into organizational strategies.

We’re aware that the way we communicate can have a substantial impact on how we perceive ourselves and engage with others. In Spain, we have the masculine and the feminine form, but we do not have a gender neutral one for both, so we tend to use the masculine to include everyone. So, avoiding the use of generic masculine language when referring to a group has the potential to effect transformative change in our world, the mental frameworks that shape our perceptions, and the established power dynamics. In the Spanish language there are lots of words that we use with the masculine form because there’s no gender-neutral form as it exists in English. Allow me to provide an example: instead of stating “los jueces” (the judges) or “los alumnos” (the students), we can employ more inclusive terms, such as “la judicatura” (the judiciary) or “el alumnado” (the student body). By doing so, we refrain from excluding any individual and acknowledge the diversity within these groups. This practice holds consequences for those who read or hear such language, particularly for girls and young women who feel represented in the discourse and can envision themselves in the roles being discussed.

 

Inclusive Language: What It Is and How to Use It

Let’s start from the beginning: what exactly is inclusive language? Well, it involves using words and expressions that don’t discriminate against or exclude any individual or group. It’s a way of communication that recognizes diversity and promotes equality. The best part is that it’s not at all complicated to incorporate into our daily lives.

One of the most common forms of inclusive language is the use of gender neutrality. Instead of using terms that exclusively refer to male or female, we can use words and expressions that encompass both. For instance, rather than saying “boys” or “girls,” we can opt for “people” or “individuals.” We can also make small adjustments to our sentences to avoid stereotypes or exclusionary language.

 

Another important point: Why should I care about using inclusive language?

Using inclusive language in our business communication is not only a matter of justice and respect towards all, but it also brings significant business benefits. Firstly, inclusive language allows us to expand our reach and connect with a more diverse audience. By using language that includes all gender identities, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and abilities, we ensure that our message reaches everyone without excluding any group. This gives us the opportunity to attract a broader and more diverse audience, which translates into a greater potential for growth and business success.

I enjoy sharing an example I learned from Irene Morán, a specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and coordinator of venTEA, who often shares on her Instagram account the difficulties that can arise from something as simple as using the restroom and choosing the correct one when establishments and bars get creative with their gender separation. Not everyone has the ability, cultural knowledge, or background to understand that in a particular place, “a lipstick” means the women’s restroom and a “hat” means the men’s restroom. It may seem insignificant, but it is relevant to a part of the customers/users.

Additionally, the use of inclusive language in our communication strategies strengthens the brand image and reputation of our company. In an increasingly aware world of the importance of diversity and inclusion, organizations that embrace an inclusive approach are perceived as more progressive, modern, and committed to equality. This not only attracts customers and consumers who value diversity but also helps us attract and retain diverse talent within our company.

Very importantly, let’s not limit ourselves to just gender/sex. Inclusive language also encompasses other dimensions such as disability, sexual orientation, and ethnic diversity. We can use inclusive terms like “person with a disability” instead of “disabled person,” or “same-sex couple” instead of “homosexual couple.” In this way, we demonstrate our respect for all individuals and build a more inclusive environment.

 

Tips for using inclusive language without too much effort.

  • Use gender-neutral language: As explained before, avoid exclusive use of generic masculine terms, and look for more inclusive alternatives. Like the English language has.
  • Personalize your messages: Address people in an inclusive manner, using terms like “estimadas personas” (dear people) or “equipo” (team). Another useful resource is to use the relative pronoun “quien(es)” (who) instead of relying solely on the generic masculine. For example, instead of saying “el que está interesado” (he who is interested), we can say “quien esté interesado” (whoever is interested). This way, we refer to anyone.
  • Customize emails or documentation, avoiding exclusive use of masculine terms. For instance, instead of starting an email with “Estimados señores” (Dear sirs), we can use a more inclusive phrase like “Estimadas personas” (Dear people) or “Estimado equipo” (Dear team). This demonstrates respect towards all recipients and avoids gender exclusion.
  • Provide a platform for diverse visibility: Let all diverse individuals be both recipients and speakers of your messages. Ensure that everyone plays an important role in your communication. Also, illustrate and exemplify from a place of diversity. Texts, photos, videos… Gather varied voices and present diverse role models.
  • Avoid stereotypes: We all have unconscious biases, so it’s important to be vigilant and avoid falling into generalizations and stereotypes.

 

 

Together for Inclusive Communication

Inclusive communication is an ongoing process that requires our commitment and effort. By integrating it into our public relations strategies, we not only reach a broader audience but also contribute to building a more equal and respectful society.

It’s not about following rigid rules but adapting our communication so that all individuals feel valued and represented. Implementing inclusive language requires conscious effort, but the benefits are immense. Remember, inclusion is not just a moral obligation but also a smart strategy for achieving business success in the diverse world we live in.

If you have any questions or need more information about inclusive communication, don’t hesitate to contact us at LF Channel! In our specialized DEI Channel division, we will be happy to assist you on your journey towards inclusive and effective communication.

 

Estela Cayón
B2B and Corporate Communications Director

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