Gender inclusive language on public-facing maternity services websites in England

Paula Whittaker, Leifa Jennings, Beatrice Gout

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Abstract

Background
Growing numbers of transgender and non-binary people are becoming gestational parents. It is important that patient-facing maternity websites reflect this. This study aimed to assess whether NHS maternity websites in England were inclusive to people of all genders.

Methods
A total of 130 maternity websites were examined for gender-inclusive language. Websites were categorised as ‘fully inclusive’ if no gender-specific pronouns or terminology was used, ‘inclusive’ if no gendered terminology or pronouns were used but ‘woman/women’ or ‘mothers/mums’ was used to describe patients, or ‘not inclusive’ if gender-specific terms were used, such as ‘she/her’ or ‘ladies’.

Results
Overall, 71.5% (n=93) of NHS services websites used language that was either inclusive or fully inclusive, but 28.5% (n=37) of providers analysed used language that was not inclusive.

Conclusions
Increasing language inclusivity in maternity services may help to reduce discrimination experienced by transgender and non-binary patients and contribute to a fulfilled and more diverse workforce.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date2 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Gender inclusive language
  • Maternity language
  • Non-binary and trans healthcare
  • Health inequalities
  • Transgender

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