Many people don’t have to think about the gender pronouns they use for themselves, but for some, this is an issue they have to navigate throughout their daily lives.
Here at Tradewind Australia, we believe in creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment that allows everyone to bring their true selves to work without fear of prejudice. One of the ways we strive for this is by sharing our pronouns through everyday mediums, such as our email signatures.
Why Pronouns Matter
Pronouns are the words an individual wants others to use when referring to them. The most common ones are “she/her/hers”, “he/him/his” and “they/them/theirs”, however, there are a number of other non-binary pronouns a person may identify with. While pronoun use can be straightforward for cisgender people, non-binary people don’t have the same privilege and are often faced with being misgendered, invalidated or actively discriminated against when out in society.
By routinely sharing our pronouns, we can level the playing field for gender-nonconforming members of our community and normalise having conversations about pronouns. It creates space for people to share their pronouns without being singled out, and is a way to respect and affirm someone’s identity. Consequently, it’s a crucial step in becoming a better ally.
Normalising the Use of Pronouns
While it’s always important to (politely) ask people what their pronouns are rather than assuming based on appearance, doing so outright can sometimes pressure them into responding when they don’t feel comfortable or ready to share. Often, the better approach is to mention your own pronouns when introducing yourself to someone new, leaving them free to share theirs, should they wish to do so. But how do we replicate this in the digital business world?
An effective way for companies to respect pronouns is sharing them in email signatures, which helps to promote awareness and inclusivity both internally and externally. It also serves as a springboard for further conversations with people who may not have thought about the issue previously.
Other places you could include your pronouns are on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, and on communication tools such as Slack, MS Teams and Zoom. Keep in mind that sharing pronouns doesn’t guarantee you will never make a mistake. If you do use the wrong pronoun for someone despite your best efforts, it’s best to simply apologise, correct yourself and move on, without dwelling on the error or making the non-binary person feel that they must comfort you.
Ultimately, we at Tradewind believe that sharing our pronouns allows us to not only build a better workplace and live out our company values, but to help advocate for marginalised and minority people in our community. To learn more about our diverse and equitable recruitment solutions, feel free to reach out.