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How to Use Gender Pronouns in the Workplace – The Ultimate Guide

gender pronouns in the workplace

If you haven’t figured out how to use gender pronouns in the workplace.

Don’t worry you’re not alone. We’re all still learning.

Maybe you’re an old soul or come from a culture that doesn’t recognize non-traditional gender identities.

Whatever the reason, the fear of getting canceled or misgendering someone is real.

So, let’s talk about it! In this article, we’ll break down exactly how to use gender pronouns in the workplace.  

And everything you need to know about gender pronouns at work.

Understanding Gender Pronouns

Gender pronouns play a key role in affirming an individual’s gender identity.

Commonly used gender pronouns include “She/Her,” “He/Him,” and “They/Them,” but pronouns aren’t limited to binary choices.

Which we’ll talk more about later in this article.

It’s important to respect someone’s chosen pronouns, as they reflect their gender identity rather than their biological sex.

Gender identity refers to a person’s sense of being male, female, or another gender, based on their personality traits, character, and deeply held beliefs.

There are levels to gender identity, with diverse identities beyond male and female, including non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid individuals.

Non-Binary Pronouns

When it comes to gender pronouns, there is a wide range of options beyond the traditional binary choices.

Besides “She/Her” and “He/Him,” someone may also use gender-neutral pronouns such as “They/Them.”

Additionally, some prefer neopronouns as a form of gender identity expression.

Neopronouns are a form of gender identity expression that goes beyond traditional pronouns.

They can be unique to individuals or use variations like “ze/hir” or “xe/xem.”

Always respect people who choose to use neopronouns, as these pronouns are a key part of their identity and self-expression.

How To Use They/Them Pronouns

You’re probably wondering why ‘they’ would be used to refer to an individual.

Well, using the singular pronoun ‘they’ has gained acceptance as a gender-neutral option for people who don’t identify strictly as male or female.

For example, instead of saying, “She managed the project,” you can say, “They managed the project,” respecting their preferred pronouns and gender identity.

How to Ask Someone their Pronouns

Asking for someone’s preferred pronouns is a key step toward creating a safe and inclusive work environment.

Here are some ways to ask someone their pronouns:

“What are your preferred pronouns?”

“What pronouns do you use?”

“Can you remind me what pronouns you use?”

By asking and respecting these pronouns, you show your commitment to validating their gender identity.

Asking for pronouns correctly and respectfully, allows individuals to share their pronouns willingly.

Respecting Pronouns in Writing

Now when it comes to written content, you’ll also want to be careful to use gender pronouns correctly.

This includes using preferred pronouns, incorporating gender-neutral language, and avoiding assumptions or stereotypes.

For example, instead of starting an email with “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen” you can say “Good morning, everyone.”

For more practice on inclusive writing, check out our article on Gender-Neutral Language In the Workplace.

How To Respond If You Misgender Someone

Let’s face it. Just like with learning any new skill. Mistakes will happen when dealing with gender pronouns.

Don’t sweat it. We’re all still learning.

If you mess up, handle the error with sensitivity and class.

When accidentally misgendering someone, address the mistake promptly and apologize sincerely.

By acknowledging your error and actively seeking to learn and improve, you present yourself as a leader.

How To Become an Ally for an Inclusive Workplace

Creating an inclusive workplace is a team effort. And it can start with you!

Allies play a major role in promoting inclusivity by educating yourself and others about gender pronouns, correcting misgendering, and advocating for respect and understanding.

Familiarize yourself with commonly used pronouns, including both binary (he/she) and non-binary (they/ze) options.

Encourage co-workers to include their preferred pronouns in their email signatures, professional profiles, and introductions during meetings.

As an ally, you hold the power to promote the type of work environment that values every individual’s uniqueness.

Final Thoughts

The proper use of gender pronouns in the workplace is an important step towards helping everyone feel safe and represented.

By consistently incorporating these pronouns in conversations, writing, and introductions, you can create a sense of belonging and support for your co-workers.

But it doesn’t end there. Ongoing education and open communication are key to ensuring that your workplace continues to embrace and celebrate all gender identities.

If you’re new here, be sure to join our inclusive community with tons of resources to help boost your career and paycheck!

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Over To You

Other than correctly using gender pronouns in the workplace – what steps are you taking to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at work?

Let us know in the comments section on social @netwerkmovement.

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