29 June 2020

Public Service Rainbow communities told us through the 2019 WeCount survey how important it is for colleagues, managers and others to get pronouns and names right and that this helps create a real sense of belonging and respect in the workplace.

He painga tō te whakamahi tūkapi Why using pronouns is beneficial

Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission is committed to diversity and inclusion. We want to acknowledge and celebrate all voices and experiences across our Public Service. 

Pronouns are words used to refer to people (for example, she/her, he/him, or they/them). An easy way to normalise the use of pronouns is to include them in your email signature. There are a few reasons why this is beneficial:

  • When cisgender people include pronouns, it normalises it for everyone and protects trans and gender diverse people when they include their pronouns.
  • Having pronouns in an email signature signals you as an LGBTQIA+ ally.

Including pronouns in your email signature is a quick and easy way for cisgender people to have a powerful and positive impact. This is harder and riskier for transgender and gender diverse people because it leads to longer conversations and asks them to educate people.

How to include your pronouns

Step 1

In your email signature, add your pronouns (she/he/they/ze/and so on) after your name.

Step 2

Hyperlink the pronouns to this webpage so people can learn more by clicking on them. If you have any difficulties, contact your workplace IT department.

Dealing with negative reactions

If you experience discrimination or negativity for using your pronouns in your workplace, please contact your team leader or HR department. These additional resources may also help:

Other ways to be more inclusive with pronouns

  • Consider starting a meeting with each attendee sharing their name and pronouns.
  • Include your pronouns in your LinkedIn profile by adding them after your last name.
  • Ask people politely what pronouns they use — don’t assume pronouns based on appearance, name or any other factor.
  • Don’t use the term ‘preferred’ or ‘gender’ pronouns — although people often mean well when they use these terms it can imply that pronoun selection is a preference rather than a requirement and using ‘gender’ can ignore agender people.
  • If you get pronouns or a name wrong, it’s good to acknowledge a mistake (privately) and try to get it right next time.
  • Be an active ally and help others understand why this is important. 

Te whakamārama i ngā tapanga āniwaniwa Understanding rainbow terms

Get to know, understand and use some common rainbow terms.

Rainbow inclusive language guide