Recently I listened to an episode of a favorite podcast of mine, Gather Geeks, called How to Accommodate All Gender Identities at Events. I thought the interview brought up a few great points related to planning events that also apply when you are hosting meetings at work.

A few key highlights from the interview:

  • Be aware of gender-neutral language
  • Look for meeting space that has gender-neutral restrooms available so that all our your guests will feel comfortable
  • Consider your registration, sign in and name tag process and focus on giving attendees options and the ability to tell you how they would like to be addressed

Not sure what gender-neutral language sounds like? Here’s a chart I created with a few examples:

Instead of…Try…
Greetings ladies and gentlemanGreetings everyone 
Guys and gals / Men and womenFolks / You all / Y’all
Someone left a comment but he didn’t leave his nameSomeone left a comment but didn’t leave a name or Someone left a comment but they didn’t leave their name
Husbands and wives, mothers and fathersSpouses, parents, families

If you are preparing for a meeting in which people will be working together for the first time, consider using name tags or stickers that allow attendees to share their pronouns. 

Asking for pronouns is a little tricky because people may not be out about their gender identity at work and may not want to give their real pronouns. However, normalizing the process of having everyone offer up their pronouns as a normal way of introducing themselves is generally recognized as a way to support gender minorities. So I would recommend making opportunities available, volunteering your own pronouns, and also recognizing that some individuals may choose to misgender themselves if they do not feel comfortable at that moment sharing their true pronouns.

If you aren’t sure how to be inclusive of all genders, ask questions and educate yourself about concerns facing gender minorities such as trans and non-binary people. 

Here are few starting places:

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