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Celebrating Inclusive Language While Honouring Women in the Pregnancy Narrative


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The journey through pregnancy is a one-of-a-kind and transformative experience often associated with women. But as we embrace inclusivity and acknowledge the diverse range of gender identities, we must remember that not all pregnant individuals identify as women. This encourages a shift in how we talk about it, one that's all-encompassing without erasing the word "woman" from the conversation.


Pregnant Then Screwed, an organisation championing the rights of pregnant people, has been doing a fantastic job spotlighting how pregnancy affects women in the workplace. Their efforts have highlighted the discrimination and hurdles women face during and after pregnancy, drawing much-needed attention to this matter.


As we broaden the conversation to include all pregnant individuals, regardless of their gender identity, it's essential to remember that the term "woman" should not be erased. Women have historically confronted unique pregnancy-related challenges, and these experiences should not be undermined.


Our aim isn't to substitute "woman" with a generic term but to widen our understanding of pregnancy and the people who go through it. The inclusive language allows us to appreciate the diversity of experiences while acknowledging women's particular challenges.


According to a study by the National Women's Law Center in 2020, one in four women reported experiencing pregnancy discrimination at work. This discrimination can take various forms, from being denied promotions to facing unjust dismissals.


While focusing on women's experiences is critical, it's equally important to recognise that not all pregnant individuals identify as women. Transgender men, non-binary individuals, and those with other gender identities can also experience pregnancy.


A 2019 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimated that 500,000 transgender individuals in the United States have given birth. This underscores the necessity for inclusive language that acknowledges the breadth of experiences.


Using inclusive language doesn't diminish women's experiences; it simply broadens our understanding of pregnancy and the people who undergo it. The objective is to cultivate a more inclusive and supportive environment for all pregnant individuals, regardless of gender identity. By employing inclusive language, we can guarantee that everyone feels acknowledged, listened to, and respected during this momentous life event.


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After more than 25 years of dedicated leadership in the corporate, feminist, and LGBTQ+ realms, with a profound commitment to LGBTQ+ and women's rights, I stand ready to support, consult, educate, and advise on your next diversity challenge. Your journey towards inclusivity begins with a conversation. Reach out to me at cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com with any inquiries.

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