The Power of Language: FutureBrand takes a look at what not to say

09 March, 2021 Share socially

This year FutureBrand, Hugo & Cat and UXUS have come together to collectively curate and celebrate the International Women's Day 2021 theme, #ChooseToChallenge. We are excited to announce that we have several initiatives planned to promote this important cause, celebrate our women and raise awareness around issues of gender inequality that still permeate workplaces around the world.

Language in the workplace matters – whether it’s in recruitment adverts, in pitch meetings or in conversations at the water cooler. Phrases like “that’s our man” may seem innocuous, but they all contribute to an unequal workplace environment.

However, despite growing awareness of the need for gender neutral and inclusive language in the workplace, making a change requires a genuine commitment from employers to initiate an internal dialogue.

As part of a broader programme of initiatives for International Women’s Day, FutureBrand has opened discussion amongst its employees of what not to say in the workplace. Far from merely a directive, the feedback will act as an internal resource and conversation starter about why and how certain expressions, idioms or gendered language could create an uncomfortable work environment.

The examples below are informed by suggestions from existing FutureBrand employees, from São Paulo to London, on language they feel is inappropriate in the workplace. By involving employees in this discussion, the FutureBrand leadership team hope to have a transparent and democratic conversation about language across all levels of the business.

Given its global scope, this will also offer a nuanced insight into how cultural, professional and gender norms intersect in studios around the world. Such cultural sensitivity is critical not only for maintaining effective client partnerships, but also for fostering closeness and trust between colleagues – not matter where in the world they are.

We encourage you to continue the discussion around inclusive language across our social media channels.