This one was written by Nathan Welch. Thank you Nathan, you're brilliant.
'Should I use 'woman' or 'client' or something else in my personal statement? What's inclusive?'
'My dearest community,
We have this question come up time and time again now that people are becoming more aware of trans and non-binary people who become pregnant and give birth.
Firstly, I think it's important to acknowledge the very limited word/character count that you have to contend with!
And so, unfortunately, the option to use 'women and birthing people' like you would in other literature, for example, a leaflet, essay or article is not really there.
Or you could do once but then what for the rest of the text?
The next thing to acknowledge is that I think that whether you use 'women', 'clients' or 'pregnant people', it won't affect whether or not you get interviews, the admissions tutors are very much looking for other things and all of these options will be seen as perfectly acceptable.
But, food for thought: documents making statements about the very wide range of clients that midwifery caters for, should have fully inclusive language in a singular term.
For example a document with a Trust Policy that relates to anyone who is pregnant or giving birth, that is only going to be read by professionals, might as well use one simple term to mean everyone, re client or pregnant person.
But a leaflet that is going to be read by clients needs to be more personal to help everyone reading it to feel comfortable, such as 'women and pregnant people can practice pelvic floor exercises from...' etc.
Does the distinction between these two types of writing make sense to you?
What are your thoughts?
'But what's the best way?'
Well, I'm not sure if there is only one right way. I think it's really great that future student midwives are already starting to consider inclusive language and it's lovely to get some good habits going from the start. I think if you're asking these questions you're doing great and you give us hope for the future of midwifery
If it was me, I would use 'women and pregnant people' in at least one sentence near the beginning of my statement, to really sound out that I'm thinking about EVERYONE. And then from that point I'd probably use something simple like client, due to the word count.
What have you done or are you doing in your statement? Let's talk about it and reassure each other that there are lots of good ways to write a personal statement.
(P.s I feel I have to state that the narrative that using inclusive language is the erasure of women or opinions that only a small minority of people are trans and therefore it doesn't need to be thought about are trans-exclusionary and not accepted here. We are a safe space for trans people AND women.
If you feel that women are being erased by this post YOU HAVE NOT UNDERSTOOD and you need to go and do more reading and learning before entering the conversation.)'