Diversity Council Australia believes it's great that Qantas is using the WordsAtWork materials to encourage reflection and discussion at work about what respectful and inclusive language looks like. Many DCA member organisations are using the materials and it reflects well on these organisations that they are starting/creating/encouraging a conversation internally about what respectful and inclusive words could look like in 2018.
Our WordsAtWork materials are not telling people what they can and can’t say. We are simply asking people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and look at what they say from another perspective – and be open to changing what they have always thought is ‘normal’, respectful and appropriate to say.
We designed the materials so that they weren’t instruction manuals but rather offered up ideas for consideration. In fact, in the guide we note that language changes and so it’s important to revisit these ideas over time to see how community standards about words at work may be changing.
We will never get universal consensus on what words or behaviours are or are not inclusive – but that’s actually not the point, the point is to open up a respectful discussion about it.