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How to Use Gender Pronouns in Email Signatures Positively

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Using gender pronouns in email signatures

We know not everyone identifies with the pronouns they’re born with. It is insensitive to automatically assume a person’s gender to be male or female. But this sometimes can cause confusion when it comes to addressing new people.

It’s helpful to understand other people’s preferred gender pronouns so we can build respectful relationships – especially with our colleagues and clients. This also allows for a diverse and inclusive workplace.

A simple way to do this is by encouraging teams to add their preferred gender pronouns in an email signature. It’s a small gesture but can go a long way.

But what does adding pronouns mean in terms of email signatures? Here, we’ll look at why it’s important to include gender pronouns in email signatures, how to introduce the idea to your team, and the most effective way to roll out custom email signatures across your business.

What are gender pronouns?

Our preferred gender pronouns are how we wish to be referred to by when spoken about in the third person.

For example, those who identify as male typically prefer ‘he’ and ‘him’. People identifying as female often prefer ‘she’ and ‘her’, while those who don’t identify as either may prefer ‘they’ and ‘them’.

As a rule, it’s often courteous to ask someone to share their pronouns before addressing them.

Why should you include gender pronouns in email signatures?

Refer to people by their preferred gender pronouns

We often speak with people we’ve never met via email, often making gender assumptions easily.

For example, we may refer to people in an email chain with what we assume their gender to be. We mean no offence, but the recipient may find it distressing if their preferred pronouns are misused.

One way to avoid this happening is by encouraging employees to include their correct pronouns in their email signature. It’s a simple way of highlighting to others how they’d like to be referenced.

It’s not just for those who’ve been given the wrong pronoun though. Encouraging companywide adoption of gender pronouns in email signatures shows the business is supportive and inclusive of all people.

Examples of commonly preferred gender pronouns

Subjective Objective Possessive adjective Reflexive
HeHimHisHimself
SheHerHersHerself
TheyThemTheirsThemself
Ze (pronounced zee)Zir/HirZirs/HirsZirself/Hirself
HuHumHus/HusHumself

This isn’t a comprehensive list however, and individuals in your team may identify with different gender expressions. So, it’s important to ask for their input before rolling out custom email signatures.

Starting the conversation

Some of your team may already include their preferred gender pronouns in their email signature. But spreading the message to the whole team encourages more widespread adoption.

Even those who haven’t experienced misgendering can support others by adding their preferred pronouns to their email signature. It’s a show of support for those who have and normalizes the idea that we risk upsetting our friends and colleagues by simply assuming their gender identity.

Let your team know it isn’t compulsory but explain it can be a positive sign of unity with their friends and colleagues. And that if they want to opt-in, the business can make it simple for them to update their signature.

If you’re using an email signature management solution, consider sending a survey out to the team, in which they can select their preferred gender pronouns and whether they’d like to opt-in or out of adding them to their email signature.

Using gender pronouns in email signatures

Adding preferred gender pronouns to email signatured is simple. The chosen pronoun set often sits alongside the other contact information you typically include like name and job title.

Senders usually include examples of their preferred gender pronouns – like ‘he/him’, or ‘she/her/hers’ – and this usually appears next to, or underneath, their name.

This may look something like this:

John Doe (he/him)

Managing Director

Exclaimer

+44 (0)1234 567890

Jane Doe (they/them/theirs)

CEO

Exclaimer

+44 (0)1234 567890

Adding gender pronouns to email signatures

But what does adding pronouns mean if you can’t ensure they are added correctly to all users’ email signatures? Exclaimer’s email signature solutions make the process of including gender pronouns in your company’s email signatures with ease.

Manage email signatures centrally Office 365 (now Microsoft 365), G Suite (now Google Workspace), and Microsoft Exchange, and then simply add preferred gender pronouns as required. All this while maintaining the professional formatting and design your business upholds in its internal and external communications.

Create a standard list of pronoun sets and potentially include a custom option too, which allows you to input unique sets as your team requires. Adding these new fields to the business’ existing email signature templates allows you to simply toggle pronouns on and off by individual preference.

Our intuitive and flexible email signature management solutions allow you to design and edit email signature templates with ease. So, you can add preferred gender pronouns easily alongside an employee’s name within their contact information.

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