Why we use inclusive language at Ovry
At Ovry, our goal is to empower people through education and support equality. We recognize the importance of using the correct terms when it comes to discussing pregnancy and ovulation. We also understand the weight language can carry. While we are dedicated to using factual, science-based research, we want to break down societal barriers and set a precedent for ourselves and other Canadian companies.
Before we continue, let’s define some terms.
- Sex: It refers to the biological distinctions between males and females, most often in connection with reproductive functions, a study in the American Journal of Public Health explains.
- Gender: The World Health Organization says that “gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.”
- Womxn: It is a term that refers to females, without the “patriarchal” spelling with the word “man” at the end. In a BBC article, Dr. Clara Bradbury-Rance says the spelling comes from a “long-standing objection to the word woman as it comes from man, and the linguistic roots of the word mean that it really does come from the word man.”
- Cisgender: Cisgender describes a person who identifies with their birth sex. It Gets Better Project has a helpful glossary.
We don’t want to erase women with our language, but we do want to use our platform to raise awareness about gender equality and to promote inclusivity. Here’s why.
Our products are not only for women
Our products are for anyone who wants to buy a pregnancy or ovulation test strip kit. We use terms like “people with uteruses” because it refers to biological function, instead of gender—which is a concept that is made up by society.
We want to be part of the switch to gender neutral language
Some companies have already started using non-gendered terms. “Small tweaks to our language usage can go a long way to respect non-binary individuals and may have the additional benefit of increasing overall gender equality,” writes Forbes contributor and author of Sex and the Office: Women, Men and the Sex Partition Kim Elsesser.
Air Canada, for example, now says “everyone” rather than “ladies and gentlemen” when greeting passengers. This might seem like a minor change, but it can make a big difference to those who have been alienated by language, explains Elsesser.
Practicing what we preach
At Ovry, we don’t want to add to the marginalization of often underrepresented groups by using language that excludes them. For example, a transgender man can still menstruate or become pregnant. That is why the term “people with uteruses” is more accurate and inclusive. At the same time, we realize that not all cisgender females get their periods or can get pregnant. That is why targeting women in general can also add to society’s preconceived notions of what a “woman” is or should be.
We understand that language is constantly changing. We’re doing our best to adapt as we navigate the landscape. We might make mistakes along the way but we are open to feedback. If you have a question or a comment, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more resources about gender neutral language: