Free hidden inclusive language tips

by Dec 5, 2020

I’ve just discovered these free hidden inclusive language tips


I was playing around with my editing section in Word on Microsoft 365 and stumbled quite by accident on an Inclusiveness section which I had never seen before. Like many others when I bought my lap top I had all the software pre-installed by the technician. I never looked at it again until I started getting some annoying prompts which I wanted to get rid of. Digging deep into the bowels (so to speak) of the product has a much interest to me as watching paint dry. I am also cautious because the last time I did this I managed to uninstall  the whole programme. I then spent days running around a Spanish fishing village trying to get it fixed.  What can I say. It’s a talent.

But I’m glad I did do a deep dive. It may prove to be helpful. It certainly is something I’ve never come across before and is completely free. Always a bonus.

So in case you are like me and were oblivious to these hidden inclusive language tips I thought I would share them with you. Words count and vocabulary choice is important. The unconscious impact of sexist or other biased language is significant. Phrases such as run like a girl, man-up, the right man for the job and so on are deeply engrained into our everyday exchanges.

How to do this

📌Click on Editor in your Word document

📌 Then proofing

📌 Scroll down to settings and click


free hidden inclusive language tips

📌 Scroll down further and voilà a whole inclusiveness checklist.


free hidden inclusive language tips

I haven’t played around with the options and it may seem basic, but there are still many among us who make these simple errors because our biases and habits are so deeply embedded.

When I Googled the topic after the event I came across  this Microsoft guide to bias free communication.  

Use gender-neutral alternatives for common terms.

Some suggestions:

📌 chair  or moderator NOT chairman
📌 humanity, people, humankind man  NOT mankind
📌 operates, staffs NOT  mans
📌 sales representative or sales person NOT  salesman
📌 synthetic, manufactured NOT manmade
📌  workforce, staff, personnel NOT manpower

Avoid he, him, his, she, her, or hers in generic references.


📌Rewrite to use the second person (you).
📌Rewrite the sentence to have a plural noun and pronoun.
📌Use the or a instead of a pronoun (for example, “the document”).
📌Refer to a person’s role (reader, employee, customer, or client, for example).
📌Use person or individual.
📌If you can’t write around the problem, it’s OK to use a plural pronoun (they, their, or them) in generic references to a single person. Constructions such he/she and s/he are considered binary to best avoided.

You can also check out the E.I.G.E Toolkit on gender sensitive communication. 

Hopefully you will find this helps you. Language matters!

If your organisation needs support creating bias free communications to attract female talent whether your web site, job profiles and postings, career pages get in touch with 3Plus NOW     

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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