Inclusive Language Summit

Deputy Administrator A. Bradley Mims (March 1, 2021 - present)

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Abby [Smith]. Good morning, everyone. 

The FAA’s mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

We know that a diverse workforce helps us fulfill that mission. Diversity enables us to make better decisions, innovate at faster rates, and solve problems sooner.
 
That’s why, as Deputy Administrator, one of my priorities is to strengthen Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the FAA, and throughout the aerospace industry.
    
We know that language makes a difference. The language we use can include or exclude members of our community.  
    
Think about it … when we use terms like “airmen” or “unmanned aircraft,” we’re sending a message that only men belong in the aerospace community.
    
No one believes that. BUT, we’re still using that old language. 
    
It’s not only inaccurate, but it works to exclude others from feeling welcome in this field. 
    
And because of the language that many communities use -- too often, some groups get left out – such as women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and people from underserved communities.
    
We want to welcome ALL people. We want to uplift ALL people.
    
In support of that goal, the FAA is considering recommendations to adopt language that is gender-neutral and inclusive, and to promote the use of that language throughout the aerospace field. 
    
Our efforts support President Biden’s government-wide strategy to advance gender equity and equality in the United States and around the world.
    
I firmly believe that by adopting more inclusive language, we will help position the aerospace community to be more attractive to ALL people, as they consider their career choices.   
    
Today, we’ll be having three panel discussions. 
    
I’m moderating Panel 1, which is titled: Welcome Aboard: Inclusive Language and the Aerospace of Tomorrow.
    
And following that, Ginny Boyle, Vice President in the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, will host Panel 2, titled: Neutral Now: How Inclusive Language Makes a Difference.
    
And then, Angela Anderson, a Director in the FAA’s Aviation Safety Office will host Panel 3, titled: Embracing Inclusivity: How FAA is Pushing Gender Language Boundaries.
    
And after each panel session, we’ll take questions from anyone who is watching or listening in.    
    
Now, let’s get our first panel going. With us is:
  
Wendy Star, Director of Policy Initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the New York City Fire Department. 
    
Dr. Wendy A. Okolo, an Aerospace Research Engineer at NASA Ames Research Center. 
    
And Jessie Lane, the Assistant Equal Employment Manager/Deputy EEO Director at the United States Secret Service.  

Let’s start with the first question…

1. You’ve each made impressive moves to incorporate inclusive language into your organization’s missions, such as with NASA’s diversity and inclusion programs, FDNY’s recruitment efforts, and the U.S. Secret Service’s Federal Women’s Program. Can you each talk about how you made those changes?

2. What value does having an inclusive environment or culture have in your workplaces? 

3. Have you altered any of the terminology you use in your organization for your workforce or for an external audience? If so, can you give examples? 

4. Are there any best practices you can share in how organizations can be more welcoming to prospective employees and their stakeholders?
    
This was a terrific discussion. Thank you all for your insight. I will turn it over to Abby for questions from the audience.