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Writing to widen participation

Inclusive writing

If you can write for a smaller audience, your content will also be suitable for the general reader. Write for someone with focused needs, uncommon circumstances, and about whom you know very little. If you can get the language right for this imagined audience then the language is likely to work for everyone.

Avoid words and phrases which could reinforce stigma or invite pity.

Think carefully about how the words you choose could be interpreted. For example, do not use phrases like 'those suffering with disabilities'.

Be aware that certain phrases, even common ones, can have negative associations. For example, the term 'minority' can imply inferiority.

Do not make assumptions about your audience.

Do not make recommendations or generalisations based on assumptions or personal biases. We cannot know everything about our users' personal circumstances. Provide clear factual information which helps users to make their own decisions about what is best for them.

"We should never, under any circumstance, make an assumption about a student or parent - about their values or culture or mindset - based on a single dimension of thier identity"

Paul Gorski'The Question of Class'.

Read more about writing in a neutral voice and for specific audiences in this short article about the invisible voice.

For more information about subconscious reinforcement of identity through language, read about the term 'basic' on this Buzzfeed news blog.

Read the 'Anti-classist framework' found within the section on economy in A Progressive's Style Guide.