Creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace involves an ongoing and consistent effort across the entire organization. One way to further inclusion in the workplace is to acknowledge all expressions of gender identity by sharing pronouns.
Openly discussing your gender pronouns, or simply adding them to your email signature or social media bios, highlights the importance of recognizing and respecting each other’s identities. Inviting employees to optionally share their pronouns signals that your organization values an inclusive company culture. Pronouns include, but are not limited to, “she/her/hers,” “he/him/his,” and the gender-neutral pronouns “they/them/theirs” and “zie/zim/zir.”
Why share pronouns?
Highlighting pronouns can:
- Give people the opportunity to be aware of your gender identity and pronouns. Doing so can prevent misgendering (referring to a person by a gendered word with which they do not identify).
- Signal to others that you will respect their gender identity and pronouns, and will not make assumptions.
- Create a safe space so everyone can bring their whole self to work.
- Show that you care about and respect individuals who identify as being part of a minority group.
- Bring awareness to an issue that many people might not have given thought to before.
- Normalize discussions around gender and reinforce that it is important to understand and respect the identity of others.
Inviting employees to share pronouns allows them to celebrate who they are and show that they are part of and/or an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. It is a reminder both within your organization and externally that diversity, inclusivity, and non-discrimination matter. Here is another useful resource on ways you can share pronouns, including tips on how to approach asking someone their pronouns.
Pronouns are an extension of a person’s identity. Helping your teams understand how misgendering can negatively impact individuals can go a long way in creating a more inclusive and respectful work environment where LGBTQ+ employees feel valued.