Pronouns and why language matters for inclusion, diversity and equality

19 November 2020
By Amy Zamarripa Solis

Language matters. As an employer and funder, it’s important to use language that will create an inclusive environment where transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people feel welcome and respected.

When meeting people for the first time, it’s important not to assume a person’s gender or pronouns based on appearances.

Our staff members are encouraged to present their pronouns in digital communications and in meetings and to also ask others what their pronouns are. This creates an opening to discussion on how people would like to be referred as, groundwork for mutual respect.

Some of the more commonly used pronouns include:

  • She/hers
  • He/his
  • They/their
  • No Pronouns – Use My Name

As an organisation, the Foundation recognises a third gender, beyond male/he and female/she: a gender that is neither man nor woman (non-binary or intersex).

While other countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have legally recognised the third gender, in the UK it is not yet. However, the title Mx instead of Mr or Mrs title is commonly accepted by organisations and businesses as an alternative for non-binary people.

Historically, the third gender has existed in many other cultures, such as the Hijras of the Indian subcontinent or the muxes of Oaxaca, Mexico – children identified as male at birth, but who choose at a young age to be raised as female – are embraced as part of the community.

We encourage our partner organisations, grantees and wider community to consider inclusive language practices in their everyday language and communications.

This includes:

  • not using “yes, sir” or “thank you, ma’am” in greetings
  • using “person”, instead of referring to a “man” or “woman”
  • instead of using “ladies and gentlemen” or “boys and girls”, using gender neutral phrases such as “friends and colleagues” or “children/youngsters” or “students”
  • Instead of “men and women” using “everyone” or “all people” or “women, men, and nonbinary people”

For more tips and good practice on using pronouns and gender-neutral language, please check out

We actively encourage funding applications from underrepresented and marginalised groups including, but not limited to, Black, Asian and people of colour, LGBTQIA+, disabled people including people with mental health issues or long-term health issues, gypsies and travellers, homeless, older people, people without qualifications unemployed/low waged , working class people, and young people.

Check out our funding opportunities and apply now.

Sign up to our newsletter to hear about our upcoming employment opportunities. The Foundation values equality and diversity and welcomes applications from candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity.

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Amy Zamarripa Solis

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