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Fostering a Gender-Inclusive Work Culture

By Jamie Carty, IBIS Consulting Group

In order for an organization to practice gender inclusivity, it must actively embrace gender diversity in its language and practices. For transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming employees to feel safe and accepted at work, the organization needs to be active in recognizing and respecting people across the gender spectrum, and in setting expectations that allow everyone to feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work.

Here are some steps towards creating a culture of gender inclusivity in the workplace:

  • Encourage sharing pronouns during introductions. This takes the onus off of non-cisgender employees to speak up. Share your pronouns even if unprompted, and when leading intros, make it standard practice to invite people to share the pronouns they would like to use in this space.
  • Lead by example. Instead of assuming someone’s pronouns, ask!
  • Include a designated space for pronouns in email signature templates, and promote including pronouns in business cards, name badges, and video conferencing usernames.
  • Normalize correction in conversation if someone is misgendered. If a coworker uses incorrect pronouns when referring to someone, a simple correction in the moment acknowledges that person’s identity.
  • Use gender-neutral language in an organization’s website, internal policies, job postings, and external communications to include people of all gender identities.
  • Instead of addressing groups with gendered language like “ladies and gentlemen,” use gender-inclusive language, such as “everyone,” “folks,” and “colleagues.”
  • Use gender-neutral language in dress code. This encourages employees to express themselves and wear clothing they feel comfortable in.
  • Designate all-gender/gender-neutral restrooms.
  • For gendered restrooms, provide inclusive language on signage indicating that people may use the restroom that best fits their gender identity.
  • When someone asks for directions to the restroom, provide all options instead of assuming their preference.

These practices can go a long way in preventing microaggressions that negatively impact employees.

By actively recognizing gender diversity, we can work towards a culture that is not confined to thinking within a gender binary, and can instead foster an inclusive environment through communal practices, shared language, and acknowledgement.

If you or your organization would benefit from coaching and consulting on DEI topics such as gender inclusivity, IBIS can offer support and guidance. Contact us today.