Social Work

Selected resources at the Monmouth University Library useful for locating information in the field of Social Work

According to the Linguistic Society of America, "Inclusive language acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities."  Inclusive language helps us to communicate better and allows for positive connection to one another. What then is meant by gender-inclusive language? The United Nations terms gender-inclusive language, "as meaning to speak and write in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender or gender identity, and does not perpetuate gender stereotypes. Given the key role of language in shaping cultural and social attitudes, using gender-inclusive language is a powerful way to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias."

A Guide to Using Inclusive Language

A Guide to Using Inclusive Language
Instead of: Try:
inmate, prisoner, convict, ex-con, offender, criminal incarcerated person, formerly incarcerated, person detained by...
elderly, seniors, the aged, senior citizens older adults, person 65 years and older, the older population
prostitute, hooker sex worker, prostituted person, trafficked person
slave person is/was enslaved
homeless people, the homeless, transients unhoused, persons experiencing homelessness
illegals, aliens, foreigners undocumented, immigrant, foreign-born persons, refugee
the poor, low-class people, poor people people whose incomes are below the federal poverty threshold
use of racial groups as nouns (e.g. avoid "Asians, etc.) the adjectival form (e.g. Asian individuals, etc.)
minority replace with more specific language. Ex. racial and ethnic minority groups
birth sex, natal sex, born female, born male assigned sex, sex assigned at birth, assigned male/female
victim, survivor person who has experienced..., person who has been impacted by...
mentally ill person living with a mental health condition, person with a mental illness 
addict person with a substance abuse disorder
special needs, physically challenged, mentally retarded person with a disability, disabled person 
tranny, transvestite, transexual transgender people, trans and gender nonbinary folks or folx


Sources: American Psychological Association, Inclusive Language Guidelines.  Anxiety & Depression Association of America, Inclusive Language Guide. CDC, Preferred Terms for Select Population Groups & Communities. American Medical Association, Manual of Style