No not that one! The “F” word I’m interested in celebrating today, this International Women’s Day, is also kind of taboo at work. The word is “Feminist”. It’s such a shame that word is so rarely heard in the workplace because, spoken by a man or a woman, it simply means being a supporter of gender equality.
Whilst gender equality is inching itself onto the corporate agenda, driven by regulation requiring big business to report, these issues are yet to become part of everyday conversation. Yet if we are to reduce the forecasted 2095 trajectory before we realise equal opportunity and fair pay, we must first normalise the language of gender equality.
The linguist, George Lakoff, knows a thing or two about the power of words, their frames and how they can change things. He frequently writes about the need to state our values, then to speak about them over and over. It is this repetition that normalises language and essentially changes how we think and talk about things. We’ve seen how powerful this formula can be. Just look at how #HeadsTogether is changing the conversation around mental health.
Talking has the power to transform so to #pressforprogress this International Women’s Day, perhaps we simply need to start talking more about the “F” word and verbalising our support for gender equality whilst at work. And, if you are unsure how to start that conversation ‘He for She’ might be a great place to visit next.
Thanks to all those brilliant women and men who encourage and support me both personally and professionally – wishing you all a very happy International Women’s Day.
Alex established not A Duff word in March 2017. She helps businesses, brands and boards to wordsmith words that work, master their messages to matter and sculpt standout stories. Between 2012 and 2016 Alex had editorial oversight for sustainability reporting at a FTSE50 company. Her blog ‘early words’ is published Thursday mornings at 07:00.