Why I use gender pronouns in my email signature

Health, Safety and Wellbeing June 09, 2021

By RSK HR Director, Zoe Brunswick

Diversity in business is essential. Life would not only be boring if we were all the same, but also innovation simply wouldn’t happen because we would all think the same way and would come up with the same ideas. RSK thrives on knowledge-sharing, employees thinking outside the box and the innovative solutions that result from this collaborative way of thinking.

Wouldn’t it be great if we accepted, in fact embraced, our differences, and then cracked on with the job in hand? Although we are getting much better at this, there is still a lot of social stigma attached to minority groups, including the LGBTQ+ community.

Throughout Pride month, we at RSK, as individuals and as a business, are trying to do our bit to stamp out that stigma and raise awareness of some of the things that could feed it.

One thing that we have started to communicate about internally is gender pronouns and the importance of these. My gender pronouns (she/her) conform to my biological and birth sex, and also with my name, Zoe. Last year, I decided to start including my gender pronouns in my email signature.

This relatively minor tweak to add a line that shares which personal pronouns you use, whether they are he/him, she/her, they/them or something else, can make the workplace feel more comfortable for all and enables you to let your colleagues and contacts know how you would like to be referred to without anyone having to make any assumptions.

I have been trying to make a point of asking colleagues that I have not met before what their gender pronouns are. It takes a bit of practice but it can really open up the conversation.

It would be great to get to a place where we could all comfortably ask from the get-go what a person’s gender pronouns are and I would encourage people to do just that, so we can normalise it. But as a first step, adding pronouns to your email signature or social accounts is a quick and easy way to show solidarity and raise awareness of something many of us have never even considered before.

Respectfully, Zoe Brunswick (she/her)