ITALY: Meeting an expert in inclusive language…

ITALY: Meeting an expert in inclusive language… 2560 1707 GATE - Gender Awareness and Transformation for Equality

As part of the action plan towards more gender equality that Xena is realizing with one of our local associations, Cooperativa il Sestante Onlus, on Tuesday the 6th of July 2021  we had the great opportunity to host a learning event with Alice Orrù who is a copywriting expert in inclusive language (Copywriting inclusivo – Alice Orrù – .

It was the third step of the process of facilitation and it helped us to become more aware of power dynamics and roles in organizations, the priviliges and rank that come with it and how they are reflected by the language we use.

Alice helped us to get a more profound impression of what inclusive language is and how fast it can happen to exclude through language.

With her approach that combines activism and specific technical knowledge, Alice gave us important and theoretical input and practical advice on how to easily and immediately communicate with a more inclusive language.

At the same time she created a space to reflect about language, starting from the gender perspective, which is the crucial point and theme of GATE process, but also broadened the discussion to other ways of discriminatory language, in terms of for example racism, ageism, classism and how the attempt of being inclusive can cause exclusion in other fields.

A very illustrative example for this is the use of the asterisk (*) or the schwa in written texts at the end of a word instead of using the generic masculine to avoid gender termination and to include all gender identities. At the same time the use of these symbols can cause more exclusion for blind people using automatic text readers because the software cannot process the sentence correctly.

The last part of the training was dedicated to the use of images in the media and how it supports a discriminatory communication.  

We discussed ways to create a more inclusive and diverse spectrum of people represented in the media in terms of gender, ethnicity, physical aspects, sexuality and people with disabilities instead of using the same set of stereotyped images again and again.

Big thanks to Alice for the informative session!