IAB Canada came up with a Chrome extension to help prevent sexism by raising awareness of gender-biased language


Women’s inequality in the workplace is not a new phenomenon. But with increased awareness surrounding issues such as the gender pay gap and workplace harassment, it’s more important than ever for work environments to ensure they’re taking even the smallest of measures to ensure women feel comfortable and respected while at work.

Addressing women as “girls”, although seemingly innocuous, contributes to a language-based gender divide. Terms like “bossy” and “moody” are used to describe the women we work with  but never their male counterparts.

And when the gender pay gap and harassment stories started bubbling up in the ad industry, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada wanted to help prevent sexism by raising awareness of our gender-biased language. As a leader in digital communication, they added to a digital work tool we use every single day: email.

AutocorrectHER from AutocorrectHER on Vimeo.

Introducing AutocorrectHER. This Google Chrome extension is promoted as an industry-wide tool to combat everyday sexism in the phrases we use at work. Words that would auto-correct include everyday terms that women could find either uncomfortable, disrespectful, irritating, or infantilizing. Those words are then replace these words with more appropriate suggestions. Will this reduce the harassment news reports? Maybe not. Will it correct our everyday gender-biased language? Hopefully with time. Will it bring attention to our ingrained language bias? Definitely.

Fact is, daily language shapes the way we think consciously and subconsciously. It is a necessary, integral part of collectively evolving our values.

IAB Canada introduced and offered AutocorrectHER to all of its members. But it’s available for everyone to use. And if everyone does, it may just be the small start to turning the corner that we need.

To install the AutocorrectHER Chrome extension:
1. Go to the Chrome Web Store.
2. Click the “Add to Chrome” button (Note: You may be prompted to sign into your Google
account if you’re not already logged in), and then the “Add extension” button.
3. Access your Gmail or Outlook account in Google Chrome.
4. Refresh the page if necessary.

Please note: AutocorrectHER will not work on your mobile device, and this prototype version currently only works when you are drafting an email. But if successful, we will be releasing updates with full functionality. AutocorrectHER may not work if you have any ad blockers on.

Established in 1997, The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada) is the national voice and thought leader of the Canadian interactive marketing and advertising industry. It is the only trade association exclusively dedicated to the development and promotion of the digital marketing and advertising sector in Canada.

As a not-for-profit association, IAB Canada represents over 250 of Canada’s most respected advertisers, ad agencies, media companies, service providers, educational institutions and government associations. Its members represent a diverse range of stakeholders in the rapidly growing Canadian digital marketing and advertising sector, and include numerous small and medium-sized enterprises.