London council urges staff to not write ‘family’ in Christmas cards so as not to offend colleagues without relatives
- Greenwich Council chiefs release new inclusive language guide for staff
- It advises colleagues to omit ‘family’ so as not to offend peers without relatives
- Also suggests the use of ‘young persons or young adults’ and says those who are pregnant should not be called women or expectant mothers
Council chiefs have advised staff to omit the word ‘family’ when sending Christmas greetings so as not to offend those who have no relatives.
Details released under Freedom of Information legislation also details how employees at the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London are being urged to avoid referring to ‘the young’ or ‘youngsters’ in favour of ‘young persons or young adults’, and not to describe those who are pregnant as either women or expectant mothers.
The suggestions feature in an inclusivity guide, Language Matters, produced by the Labour-run authority.
One section of the 42-page document advises workers to steer clear of linking specific attributes to chronological age’ and rather than use phrases like ‘a young and vibrant team’, should consider ‘a team made up of people in the early stage of their careers’.
No mention of family should be made in Christmas greetings, the guide suggests, because ‘not everyone spends these celebrations with their biological family or with anyone at all’.
A phrase such as ‘Sending our best wishes to you and your family this Christmas time’ should be replaced by ‘Sending you our best wishes this Christmas time, however you’re spending it’.
Council chiefs with the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London have advised staff to omit the word ‘family’ when sending Christmas greetings so as not to offend those who have no relatives. [File image]
It recommends avoiding phrases such as ‘women who are pregnant’ and ‘expectant mothers’ and to instead use gender-neutral phrases like ‘people who are pregnant’ and ‘expectant parents’.
By way of elaboration, the guide also states: ‘Not everyone who is pregnant is a woman – people who are non-binary or trans men can also be pregnant.’
Referring to the pregnancy guidance, Helen Joyce, of the campaign group Sex Matters, said: ‘I don’t think this guidance is misogynistic by intent, but its effects could be.
‘The language is for the sake of accommodating what is a tiny number of people in this country.
‘For the sake of accommodating them, you are making invisible the fundamental differences between men and women.’
Greenwich council said: ‘Our inclusive language guide is advisory only and was designed to encourage staff to reflect on the use of language in the workplace and how it might impact their colleagues.’