Gender appropriate language

Gender-inclusive language expresses the equal value and equal rights of all genders in language. Using it signifies integrating all genders into the language or verbally excluding no one. This means that in addition to men, women and people of other genders are also visible in the language or, alternatively, gender-neutral wording is used.

What do we mean by gender-inclusive language?

In the German language, there are a variety of ways to use gender-sensitive wording. In general, two possibilities of gender-inclusive language can be distinguished: making gender diversity visible and gender-neutral formulation. Making gender diversity visible can be done in texts by using certain special characters. Currently, there are three common choices for the German language that represent all genders or stand for the diversity of gender identities:

- the colon : example: Professor:innen

- the asterisk, also called gender star * example: Professor*innen

- the underscore, also called gendergap _ example: Professor_innen

How we speak and address others expresses our attitude towards them. By using gender-sensitive language, we show our appreciation and respect for all people. It's not about speaking and writing in the one supposedly “right” way that is gender sensitive, but about going for it and trying it out. In addition to (written) language, images also shape our perception of reality and reflect the values and culture of TU Darmstadt.

All people should be addressed according to their wishes in personal contact. If the individual's preferred form of address is not known and you are unsure, ask which form of address the person identifies with. Please bear in mind that gender identity cannot automatically be inferred from the first name. If you are aware that a person is gender diverse, you should address that person according to their preference. If a person's gender identity is known, you can of course continue to use Dear / Dear Ms. Last Name for women and Dear Mr. Last Name for men.

Gender- and diversity-sensitive imagery manifests itself in the totality of the images of a (subject) area. The aim of gender- and diversity-sensitive imagery is to present roles and tasks in a balanced way with regard to gender. Therefore, avoid reproducing traditional role concepts as well as cultural clichés. The visual language can also consciously show a difference between the current reality and the goal, i.e. images can be used to convey goals for change (e.g. with regard to the proportion of women or the diversity of the members of the TU Darmstadt). We recommend:

• Images showing people should depict the diversity of people at TU Darmstadt.

• Ideally, attention should be paid to a balanced representation of all genders and an underrepresentation of women should be counteracted.

• All genders should be portrayed as equal. It can help to ask whether role clichés are being reproduced.

• One-sided stereotypical portrayals of women* and men* should be avoided.