EU and gender-neutral language (by Inés Rolland)

The European Parliament has released guidelines aimed at promoting gender-neutral language across all its official documents and communications in all official languages. The guidelines are intended to ensure that gender sensitivity is given due consideration whenever writing, translating, or interpreting. The principle of gender equality and non-discrimination on gender grounds is firmly rooted in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the language used in Parliament should reflect this.


The purpose of the guidelines is not to constrain authors to follow a mandatory set of rules, but rather to encourage the administrative services to give due consideration to gender sensitivity. The guidelines aim to promote gender-neutral language and ensure that translators render texts faithfully and accurately in their own language. If an author intentionally uses gender-specific language, the translation will respect that intention. This makes it all the more important for authors of texts in Parliament to be fully aware of the principles of gender-neutral language.


Interpreting in the European Parliament presents a unique challenge, given the high speed at which speeches are delivered and the need to respect the speaker’s authorship and intentions while avoiding editorial interference. The specific features of spoken language can also make it occasionally difficult to incorporate gender-neutral language in simultaneous interpreting. Nonetheless, Parliament’s services are fully committed to using gender-neutral language and embracing the associated principles of non-discrimination, recognition, and equality.