A woman speaks and letters come out of her mouth

Fair actions—Fair speech

Guidelines for gender-inclusive and gender-neutral language
A woman speaks and letters come out of her mouth
Image: Aldeca Productions, Adobe Stock

Current Informations

Gender equality also in language remains the university's goal.
President Rosenthal reacts to the decision of the Thuringian state parliament on gender-equitable language
The University of Jena stands by its recommendations on gender-equitable language. With reference to the freedom of research and teaching, our University members are free to choose from the diverse linguistic options available for using gender-inclusive and gender-neutral language.

‘Everything we are, we are in communication’ (K. Jaspers)

Gender equality is a central goal of Friedrich Schiller University Jena. It is achieved by acting in a way that considers the interests of all genders equally and fairly. In this context, we cannot ignore the most important medium of social action: language.

Language is not a rigid structure, but changes with our society. It reflects social developments through new terms and contemporary ways of writing and speaking.

By using gender-neutral wording, we can ensure that all genders are treated fairly in terms of language. It is empirically proven that women and men are equally ‘thought of’ when both genders are mentioned (pair form) and when terms include gender markers such as slashes, asterics or colons (in German).

For official university texts in German, the University leadership has established the following regulations:

In texts and speeches:

  • gender-neutral wording (e.g. Anwesende, Kollegium, Team, Mitarbeitende, Personal)
  • pairing, i.e. using both feminine and masculine forms, e.g. Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter—in statutes and regulations also ‘die Dekanin/der Dekan’

In forms:

  • gender-neutral wording (e.g. Studierende, Promovierte, Sachverständige)
  • term splitting (e.g. Mitarbeiter/in, Expert/inn/en)

Practical tips for using gender-inclusive language in German

Tips on how to address inter*, trans* and non-binary persons are available here de

Practical tips for using gender-inclusive language in English

The United Nations provide resources and recommendations on the use of gender-inclusive language in English, e.g. Guidelines for Gender-Inclusive Language in EnglishExternal link including an overview of best practices and strategies.