Why do Those Nerdy Girls use phrases like “people with cervices” and “people who lactate” in your reproductive health posts? Why not just say “women”?

Health Policy Reproductive Health Social and Racial Justice

TL;DR: Our phrases include more people. When we exclude people by not naming them, they may lack access to critical information they need to make potentially life-saving decisions.

We are science communicators. We take complicated scientific research and medical recommendations and try to make them easily digestible to our readers.

As scientists, we must be exact and careful about details. As communicators interested in the health and safety of the public, we must be inclusive. And as social media content creators, we must be brief but comprehensive.

We use phrases like “people with cervices” and “people who lactate,” to be exact, and inclusive. The word “women” is concise but does not include all who have cervices.

When science and medical research communicators fail to be inclusive, marginalized folks can be harmed by not getting the health information they need to make the best health decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

The same reason we expand terms like “mankind” to “humankind” or would like to rewrite “All men are created equal“ to “All people are created equal”, TNG expands our language. In doing so, women are included *as well* as all folks for whom this information could be life-saving.

Language is ever-evolving.

What words or phrases have you encountered in your life that feel awkward or strange? How are you working to be more inclusive in your spheres? Share in the comments. Let’s learn and grow together!

And as always, you can submit your science questions to our question box.


Those Nerdy Girls


To find out more about what informs our word choices and writing style, click here:

AMA: Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts

American Medical Writers Association: Five Tips for Equity and Inclusion in Medical Writing and Editing

Mt. Sinai: Terms We Avoid, and What We Use Instead

Link to original Those Nerdy Girls Facebook post