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Introducing the Gender Pronoun Initiative

Promoting diversity and inclusion is a key component of our healthy and productive workplace culture. The newest effort to nurture this culture is the UCOP Gender Pronoun Education/Awareness Initiative, which is focused on educating staff around how we can support trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming staff by implementing simple changes in how we use pronouns in the workplace.

This is the first in a three-part article explaining more about the Initiative, gender inclusion, applying pronouns respectfully, gender identities, events and educational resources.

A collaborative effort

Sponsored by Yvette Gullatt, vice provost and chief outreach officer, and Thera Kalmijn, executive director, operations, the Initiative is a collaborative, multi-year endeavor that brings together employees from many divisions and departments. Support and programming are being developed in partnership with the Employee Engagement and Diversity Group (EEDG) along with UCOP Pride, the President’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women (PACSW) and the OP Staff Assembly (OPSA). The Initiative’s goal is to encourage an organizational culture where trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people feel safe, respected and fully included.

“The work of creating truly inclusive environments takes time and a wholesale commitment to changing culture,” says Ianna Urquhart. “This is not about convening a committee or running a short-term campaign. Rather, it’s about taking serious steps to understand the everyday experiences of all members of the UC community and making real changes so that everyone can be their best. When we can make UC more inclusive, we make it more relevant, more attractive to current and prospective employees and ultimately a more effective organization.”

Why is this initiative focusing on pronouns?

You probably use the gendered pronouns “he” or “she” when speaking about other people. But, it’s important to consider that the terms you use are likely assumptions. We can’t always determine peoples’ gender pronouns by their outward appearance. And, using an incorrect pronoun to describe a colleague can make them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.

Learn more about pronouns and how to keep inclusivity top of mind in this helpful article from UC Davis.

Questions about the UCOP Gender Pronoun Education/Awareness Initiative? Please contact Sylvia Bhatia, OPSA chair.

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  1. Lena Zentall September 25, 2019 Reply

    Thrilled to see this is happening!

    PACSW held a popular workshop “UCOP as a Gender-Inclusive Workplace” in 2016. Billy Curtis from UCB’s Gender Equity Resource Center led the workshop and shared his slides which are posted on the site:

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