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Gender Equality and Diversity

Inclusive Language

Guidelines for members of the University of Zurich

Language doesn’t just reflect reality, it also shapes it. UZH therefore undertakes to use language that does not disadvantage or exclude anyone.

Guideline in English

The UZH English Writing Guide (section 2.3) gives specific guidance on the use of inclusive language in English. You can find it under:

In particular, masculine pronouns should not be used when the gender of a person is not known. Instead, the plural form should be used or the pronoun should be avoided altogether.

UZH endorses the use of “they”, “their”, “them” in the singular to avoid awkward “he/she”, “his/hers”, “him/her” constructions. Furthermore, gender-neutral terms should be used, e.g. chair or chairperson instead of chairman, humankind instead of mankind.

Guidelines in German

There are two German UZH guidelines for inclusive language that provide suggestions and proposals for everyday spoken and written language that is non-discriminatory.

For more comprehensive information with regard to German inclusive language at UZH please got to Inklusive, geschlechtergerechte Sprache an der UZH.

Weiterführende Informationen

foto christiane löwe


Dr. Christiane Löwe


Office for Gender Equality and Diversity


Phone: +41 44 634 21 67