This is an original blog written by Guthrie Blechman, Lead Consultant at Holistic Index.
When creating cultural and structural commitments to creating an inclusive, and respectful workplace, establishing a gender-inclusive environment is critical. Read more to learn what it means to be gender-inclusive in your language and actions in the workplace to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging.
What does the term “gender inclusivity” mean?
Gender inclusivity is the active process of ensuring your language, actions, policies, spaces, etc. are inclusive of all people of all genders and gender experiences. This means considering the experiences of people who are cisgender, transgender, male, female, nonbinary, agender, bigender, etc, and ensuring that all languages and practices are supportive and inclusive of all. Gender inclusivity frequently prioritizes groups of marginalized experience but ultimately considers how to make more inclusive spaces for everyone.
What does a gender-inclusive workplace look like?
A gender-inclusive workplace is actively improving the gender inclusivity of its policies, language, physical environment, interpersonal interactions, opportunities for advancement, and overall equity of experience of clients and staff. Working from a gender-inclusive lens means learning about the experiences of people's gender identities and using your knowledge to minimize barriers and assure everyone feels seen and respected.
A few gender-inclusive actions are:
- Interpersonal: Introducing your pronouns as a standard practice, being aware of gender biases and how they affect your interactions with others, and creating learning opportunities for your teams.
- Environmental: Clear directions to gender-neutral bathrooms, stall trash cans in all bathrooms for personal hygiene products, changing tables in all restrooms, resources, and images that reflect the diversity of your staff and client base, general location accessibility to your target demographics.
- Organizational: Health insurance that supports transgender care, reproductive health, and mental health, anti-harassment policies, handbook language, company culture.
What steps can folks take to foster a gender-inclusive workplace and actively show up as an ally to trans* individuals?
Take a People-First approach, and remember that the focus on transgender individuals is not because of the barriers or vulnerabilities the trans* community faces, but because transgender individuals are people with complex, powerful, important experiences. They deserve your support for that alone. In order to provide equitable experiences, it is important to learn about the barriers transgender people face, the needs that may be unique to them, and the ways that systemic oppression affects their lived experience. But also remember that if you are trying to create an inclusive environment for all that this means looking at how to challenge gender norms and gender experiences as a whole, supporting everyone’s complexity and right to access services, and creating more inclusive environments for all.