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Empowering gender equality through words

Without words we have less power to change things whenever the need arises. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, which takes place on 8 March every year, we would like to draw your attention to the terminological resources on gender equality that are available online in the interinstitutional terminology database (IATE) and on the European Institute for Gender Equality’s website.

Can terminology be a source of empowerment? How can we describe situations or phenomena without the right words? You could argue that if something cannot be named, it might as well not exist. Terminological resources such as the IATE terminology database and EIGE’s Gender Equality Glossary and Thesaurus can help individuals and groups find a voice in multiple languages.

One of the great features of IATE, which is managed by the Centre on behalf of the interinstitutional IATE partners, is that you can use filters to retrieve terms under specific domains (see the IATE User’s Handbook). People interested in gender equality can use specific keywords to access all the related terms available in IATE, in up to 24 languages. We recommend trying these keywords:

  • rights and freedoms [LAW];
  • equal treatment [LAW > rights and freedoms > social rights];
  • gender equality [LAW > rights and freedoms > social rights];
  • working conditions [EMPLOYMENT AND WORKING CONDITIONS > organisation of work and working conditions].

Around 300 of these IATE entries were prepared by the Centre as part of its collaboration with the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) located in Austria and the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) based in Lithuania, which have been clients of ours for many years.

For EIGE, we contributed to the creation of the Gender Equality: Glossary of terms and concepts, published on EIGE’s website in 2018. This glossary covers 410 concepts and was developed for the purpose of fostering a common understanding of gender equality terminology across the EU and promoting gender-fair and inclusive language. The glossary’s concepts were selected from key regulatory and policy documents of the EU institutions, the Council of Europe and the United Nations, as well as from studies, reports and scientific articles. The Centre provided the equivalent terms in all the EU languages.

There are several gender equality glossaries available online but many are only monolingual tools. What makes the IATE and EIGE resources exceptional is their multilingual facet, providing broader access to gender-fair and inclusive language for more linguistic communities. This is an outstanding achievement considering the scarcity of such terms in certain languages. Let’s continue in our efforts to create synergies between gender equality, multilingualism and terminology and embrace the new opportunities these might offer.