Words matter. The way we speak shapes thoughts, opinions, and (re)actions. Today, many gendered job titles remain entrenched across societies and industries, despite the availability of gender-neutral options such as firefighter, police officer, and chairperson. How can we help more people to embrace a gender-neutral vocabulary?


The way language is used can affect an outcome enormously and increase or limit potential. For example, a job title that’s inherently masculine, like fireman, mailman, salesman, or cameraman, might discourage women from applying, depriving that industry of an enormous pool of potential talent. International Women’s Day was the right time to address this.


Together with ElaN Languages, we tackled this inherent gender bias by updating their online translation tool with a new feature: The Unbias Button. Traditional gender-biased job titles are automatically updated with an unbiased alternative, hopefully contributing to a level playing field where everyone has the same opportunities and every industry has access to all the world’s talent.


To inspire change throughout the translation business, ELaN made their extensive database of gender-neutral words available to the giants of the industry, including Google Translate, iTranslate, and Yandex Translate. ElaN’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the competition and international press, being immediately picked up by major publishers like Adweek, The Stable, AdAge, the Chinese, and LS:N Global.

We’ve been working with ElaN Languages for a few years now, and they’ve always been at the forefront of what translation means in the lives of people. That importance shines through in this new idea, for which ElaN adapted their online product. This is a fundamental change they felt was urgently needed to help achieve a gender-balanced world.

Bas Korsten

Global Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson

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