Do all scenarios need to be Gender neutral?

Oct 30, 2023

I am all for being inclusive and aim to redesign current scenarios to be so. However, I am reluctant to re-write all scenarios to be gender neutral. How are you re-writing your scenarios?

In your opinion, if I have 4 scenarios and 1 of them is written GN, use gender neutral names and images this would be sufficient?  this in my opinion IS representing GN individuals.

2 Replies
Judy Nollet

I agree: you don't need to make every scenario gender neutral. After all, not everyone is GN. 

The other aspect to pay attention to is who plays what roles. Here's what I mean. A colleague told me that they did a diversity "audit" on their course. The first Black character in an ethics course was in an example of unethical behavior.

Or think about films in which the villains are all Arabs. Or all the old TV shows in which the doctors are White males, and the cleaning staff are BIPOC. Those kinds of presentations might have "diverse" characters, but they don't help us envision a better world. 

Christy Tucker

I never create scenarios that are gender-neutral, where there's no clear gender for any character. Do you mean nonbinary perhaps?

With four scenarios, I'd probably aim for the main characters to vary: at least one male, one female, one nonbinary. The last one could be male or female, depending on the scenario and audience. If the audience is generally evenly split male/female, I'd probably pick an extra female character of another race to err on the side of more diversity. If your audience is more heavily male or female, then match the gender of your audience and include a different race or ethnicity.

Besides gender and race, you could also look at depicting disability as another dimension of DEI. Don't automatically jump to wheelchairs though. Maybe one of your characters has a hearing aid or uses a cane. You can look at age, body type, hair, and other aspects of diversity too.

The good news is that you're looking at multiple scenarios, which gives you a great opportunity to do something different in each one. Making them all the same is literally the opposite of showing diversity.