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Fair and inclusive use of language and images


Guideline on the implementation of fair and inclusive language at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)

Target groups

no target group restriction /

Implementing organization

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Staff Unit Gender and Diversity Policy /


Sonja Lydtin, sonja.lydtin@wu.ac.at


Has been implemented at the Vienna University of Economics and Business since 2015

Relation to gender equality targets

As required by Section 3 of the university’s Plan for the Advancement of Women, the WU provides a guideline for the use of gender-fair language. The guideline was developed in collaboration with the Working Group on Equal Treatment Issues (AKG), together with Christoph Hofbauer.


The objective(s) of the tool

Improving sensitivity, providing information, recommending actions for members of the WU, implementing a fair and inclusive language style at WU


Description of the tool

In combination with arguments and references to scholarly studies demonstrating why fair and inclusive language is important and significant, the guideline provides examples of fair use of language and images in the context of everyday university life. It shows how – in both words and images – people can be valued fairly and rendered visible equally in their diversity, as well as beyond binary gender categories, and how language can be used to avoid stereotypical role models and subtle forms of unequal treatment in the depiction of people.


How the tool works, practical experience

The guideline is received positively both within and outside the WU. Internal feedback shows that the guideline is appreciated and used frequently. Many users welcome the fact that the guideline does not prescribe any specific formulations, but instead offers positive – and sometimes humorous – suggestions for creatively using language intended to signal equal status. It should also be noted, however, that certain users would prefer specific recommendations on formulations that should be used at the WU. The guideline has also had an impact outside the University of Economics and Business: in consultation with the WU, mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna has adapted the guideline for its own use.



Download the guideline (in German only)