Part of Gladstone’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is to support the visibility of all employees by cultivating an environment where every person is empowered to be themselves. One of the most basic ways to show respect for an individual’s identity is to use the correct gender pronoun.
Today on International Pronouns Day, we’re highlighting some of the steps we’ve taken to normalize sharing gender pronouns within the workplace and hope you can use this as a guide for yourself and your organization.
Personal pronouns are used in everyday speech and you often use them without thinking about it.
I talked to her the other day.
He was at the meeting.
These pronouns have an implied gender and often come with certain associations. When you use a gendered pronoun, you’re making an assumption about the person you’re referring to based on their name or appearance. These assumptions can be hurtful and harmful to the person you’re speaking about and others around you because they can reinforce negative stereotypes about gender expression.
It’s important that we ask, rather than assume, someone’s pronouns. Creating an environment where people can easily share, display, and correct their personal pronouns is a simple way for your organization to show that it supports and respects individuals of all different identities.
Here are some ways you and your organization can normalize the use of pronouns at work and in your daily lives. When you use and display your pronouns, you’re showing that you’re aware of the importance of pronouns, which can help create an inclusive environment by encouraging people with marginalized identities to feel comfortable sharing their pronouns.
At Gladstone, we provide pronouns stickers for employees to add to their work badges. This is an easy way for everyone to proudly and easily display their pronouns. By adding pronouns on your badge, it’s easier for colleagues to learn and use each person’s correct personal pronouns.
After consulting our internal community, we provided stickers with these options:
Your community may have different needs. So, we suggest consulting with members of your organization to find out which pronouns are most appropriate.
Another way to make sharing personal pronouns commonplace is to include them in the content that your organization publishes—whether that’s an article, video, or social media post.
At Gladstone, we’ve started to add pronouns to articles that feature one individual, like our employee profiles, Meet Gladstone. To avoid stigmatization or tokenism, we include pronouns for every individual, not just for those who use something other than she/her or he/him.
Sharing your personal pronouns should be as casual in the workplace as sharing in which department you work. When starting a meeting, ask everyone to introduce themselves with their name, pronouns (if they feel comfortable), and whatever fun ice breaker you may want to include.
Some people may not want to share their gender pronouns, for a variety of reasons—whether they’re questioning their pronouns, fear harassment or bullying, or just don’t feel comfortable. That’s okay too. If someone doesn’t share their pronouns, avoid using any pronouns when referring to them and instead just use their name.
Add your pronouns to your email signature. You can place them either right next to your name or create another line to easily display them.
Har Gobind Khorana (he/him/his)
Kakichi Mitsukuri, PhD
Many people are still working virtually. You can easily add your pronouns on Zoom and display them along with your name in your next meeting.
Add your personal pronouns to your personal social media accounts, either in your display name or in your bio.
In addition, a number of social media platforms, like LinkedIn and Instagram, now have fields for you to add and display your pronouns.