The Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee has produced these revised guidelines on the use of non-discriminatory language.
The Committee believes that the University's commitment to equal opportunity should be evident in all official University publications and communications.
The Senate has affirmed support for the principle of non-discriminatory language.
This is a brief guide for members of the University to the use of language that avoids expressions offensive to some groups in society and to assist in complying with equal opportunity legislation.
Use a first name, a neutral title or nothing.
Where titles are appropriate, use parallel titles:
When listing names, use alphabetical order except where order by seniority is more important.
Avoid terms or expressions that are patronising and demeaning and sex type generalisations.
Use he, his, him, himself only when referring specifically to a male person.
The use of he and she, she and he, she/he, s/he to refer to either female or male persons can be cumbersome. The following are acceptable alternatives:
Rewrite the sentence in the plural.
Rewrite the sentence in the passive.
Rewrite avoiding his or her after each, someone, anyone, nobody.
However, a more acceptable form would be: Those who want their work evaluated...
It is not acceptable to present material with the disclaimer that all masculine nouns and pronouns are to be taken as referring to both females and males.
Avoid sexist assumptions and comments.
Avoid irrelevant, gratuitous gender descriptions.
When referring to a position, a quality or an action that might apply to either sex, use a sex neutral term. Also, avoid the use of man or of composite words involving the syllable — man, which imply the term is exclusively male.
The use of gender-marked terms perpetuates and reinforces the outdated attitude that women are to be considered first as female and second as persons of skill and talent.
Vary the order of listing pairs of nouns and pronouns when the customary way of presenting the pair reflects stereotyped views of status.
Avoid racist language. Terms describing nationality, or an ethnic or other minority groups are frequently controversial, but some terms are more acceptable than others. Terms acceptable to people involved, however, may vary over time, and the careful speaker or author must become sensitive to what groups described prefer. For example, the term 'Aboriginal people' is preferred.
When referring to someone with a disability, the general rule is 'put people first', for example. a person with a vision impairment. When referring to facilities and services terms like 'disability parking' can be used.
Avoid using irrelevant, gratuitous ethnic descriptions.
Demonstrate the relevance of teaching material to all students by depicting the experience and interests of both women and men. Relate examples and illustrations to a broad range of life experiences inclusive of gender and cultural diversity, not just a narrow range of experiences and interests.
Ensure promotion material — brochures, videos, prospectuses, and the like — feature both women and men and where appropriate reflect the cultural diversity of the University and the broader community.
Avoid the use of cartoons and illustrations that present stereotyped views of women and men.
Students should use this Guide in the preparation of assignments to ensure they are free from bias.