22 NOV 2019

Bringing Your Authentic Self to Work: Pronouns

Our commitment to creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive work environment is absolute. We strive for excellence; to achieve it we must find the best people by looking across the full spectrum of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, citizenship status, disability, qualified veteran status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity. Experience has shown us that we can best serve our clients’ interests by tapping the insights, talents and judgments of a diverse workforce.

Importance of Pronouns

Pronouns are words that an individual would like others to use when talking to or about them. Using a person’s self-identified pronoun(s) is a way to show respect and ensure a more inclusive environment.

Goldman Sachs has launched an internal campaign centered around gender identity and pronouns, seeking to provide education on what the different types of pronouns are, guidance for the way to use them and offering new avenues for our people to proactively self-identify.

To enable our people to optimize their potential, we believe in fostering an inclusive environment where they feel comfortable to be their authentic selves– and that should be welcomed and valued by their team and by the firm.

We invite you to learn more about pronouns and tips for creating a more inclusive environment.

Defining Pronouns

A gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronoun is a pronoun which does not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed.

The list below represents the most common feminine, masculine and gender-neutral pronouns. However, it’s worth noting this is not an exhaustive list of gender-neutral pronouns, any combination is possible – and people should select the pronoun(s) that most accurately reflect their gender identity.

Feminine Pronouns: She / Her / Hers / Herself
Examples:

  • She went to the store.
  • I spoke with her.
  • The apple was hers.


Masculine Pronouns: He / Him / His / Himself
Examples: 

  • He went to the store.
  • I spoke with him.
  • The apple was his.


Gender-Neutral: They / Them / Their / Themself
Examples:

  • They went to the store.
  • I spoke with them.
  • The apple was theirs.

Gender-Neutral: Ze / Zir (Zem) /  Zirs (Zes) / Zirself (Zemself)
Examples: 

  • Ze went to the store.
  • I spoke with zir / zem.
  • The apple was zirs / zes.

 

Gender-Neutral Alternative to Using Pronouns

Gender-Neutral: [Name]
Examples: 

  • [Name] went to the store.
  • I spoke with [Name].
  • The apple was [Name]'s.
     

Tips for Being an Inclusive Ally

  • Pronouns should not be assumed by someone’s name or gender expression (i.e. physical appearance).
  • Made a mistake? Don’t make a big deal out of it or draw extra attention to it; instead, make a swift apology and use the correct pronoun(s) moving forward.
  • Practice using gender-neutral pronouns on your own time. Feeling comfortable with these terms does not happen immediately and can require concerted effort.
  • Recognize that some people go by multiple sets of pronouns, while others may choose to only use their name and eschew pronouns completely.
  • It is usually acceptable to use the “They / Them” pronoun set when referring to someone who has not expressly stated their pronouns.
  • Proactively share your pronouns to foster an environment of respect and awareness (ex: “Hi, I’m Karen! My pronouns are she/ hers. Welcome to the team!”).

Fostering an Inclusive Environment

We are committed to cultivating a work experience where of our people can reach their full potential and thrive as their authentic selves.  Goldman Sachs colleagues, Maeve DuValley and Nat Kilsby recently shared their stories on gender identity and are helping to contribute to a more inclusive firm. 

Earlier this year, the firm hosted a panel discussion focused on how to be stronger allies to the transgender and gender non-conforming community. The panel covered a range of topics, including how our language, behavior and use of pronouns can foster greater inclusion, both in and outside the office. The panel featured:

  • Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign
  • Jillian Weiss, civil rights attorney representing LGBT employees
  • Katie Krasky, Finance Division, Goldman Sachs

Gary Giglio, region head for Private Wealth Management in New York within the Consumer & Investment Management Division, moderated the discussion. 

 

 

Related:

Goldman Sachs just unveiled a new gender-pronouns initiative as part of a broader inclusion push at the Wall Street firmBusiness Insider (Subscription Required)