Language mirrors our social interactions. It determines our thinking and our consciousnesses. At the same time, it influences reality and our perception of it. Language is alive, which means that a change towards gender-sensitive language should be understood as a continuous development of today´s language use. Mutual respect can be established through language, by using language that is gender-sensitive. Unlike the use of the generic masculine, every person, and thus every gender, can be addressed. Accordingly, the use of gender-sensitive language makes all genders visible. The linguistic equality treatment of the sexes by means of gender-sensitive language is considered an essential prerequisite for gender equality.
There are many variants of how gender-sensitive language can be applied. The most prominent, apart from the Gender_Gap, is the Gender Asterisk*. With the help of the Gender Asterisk, the genders outside the binary gender system are also addressed. Here is an example of the use of gender-sensitive language: Wir, als Ansprechpartner*innen der Gleichstellungskommission, heißen jede*n auf unserer Seite willkommen. Wir begrüßen alle Professor*innen, Dozent*innen, Student*innen, Mitarbeiter*innen und Kolleg*innen sowie jede*n Interessent*in unserer Seite (We, as contact persons of the Equal Opportunities Commission, welcome everyone to our site. We welcome all professors, lecturers, students, staff and colleagues as well as anyone interested in our site).
Through the use of gender-sensitive language you can express acceptance and respect towards others and enable fair and non-discriminatory interactions. Although adopting a gender-sensitive language can initially seem difficult, it is always worthwhile, since it supports subjects relevant to equality such as tolerance, inclusion and diversity. You can find more information about it on the page of the Department of Communication at the University Bielefeld.