- Goldman Sachs introduced a pronoun initiative today, giving employees a variety of ways to signal to colleagues and others the pronouns by which they would like to be referred, according to a staff memo.
- The multi-faceted initiative will be rolled out in two stages, and will include updating the 14 business principles that have guided the firm since 1979.
- Employees will soon be able to share their chosen pronouns in e-mail signatures, on event name tags, and on cards they can display at their desk, the memo said.
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Goldman Sachs is embracing gender identity with a new initiative that gives employees a choice to identify themselves by their pronoun.
The Wall Street bank has enacted a multi-faceted initiative, to be rolled out in one stage beginning immediately and adding elements over time, according to a memo sent to all employees today and viewed by Business Insider. The memo was signed by global diversity committee co-chairs Gwen Libstag and Liz Martin.
“Few things are more personal than how people address us, and using a person’s self-identified pronouns,” according to the memo, “is an important way to show respect.”
Goldman will update the 14 business principles that have guided the firm since 1979, add new webpages explaining the use of pronouns and why people should be thinking about gender identity, and create new ways by which employees can proactively share their self-identified pronouns, such as in an e-mail signature.
Later changes will include an option for employees to display their pronoun on internal directory pages. Goldman’s directory includes such information as office location, phone number and title and is used by the firm’s 38,000 employees to look up and learn more about their colleagues.
The effort was launched in conjunction with Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on Nov. 20. It was spearheaded by Goldman’s chief diversity officer, Erika Irish Brown, and employees in the firm’s LGBTQ network.
Such policies are becoming more common across corporate America as society grows more comfortable talking about and understanding the nuances of gender identity. Over the past year, at least two of the bank’s employees have spoken publicly about their own experiences with gender identity at work, and the new initiative is intended to make sure all employees feel comfortable communicating about gender identity.
Earlier this year, Maeve DuVally, a managing director in the executive office, spoke to the New York Times about her experience using the bank’s official channels to manage her transition at Goldman.
“We encourage all of our colleagues to bring their authentic selves to work, and are committed to ensuring that we continue to sustain and enhance our culture of inclusion,” according to the memo.
The new initiative is completely optional, according to the memo. Potential pronouns include he/him, she/her, they/their and ze/zir, according to a person with knowledge of the policy.
While Goldman is taking these steps, the firm still does not currently offer explicit gender neutral bathrooms in its New York headquarters. It does offer such facilities for select recruiting events, according to a person with knowledge of the policies.
The firm’s pronoun initiative has support from the top. CEO David Solomon has made diversity a key part of his first 13 months in the top job, and the bank has already committed to ensuring that its incoming analyst class for 2021 is evenly split between men and women. The bank’s top ranks largely consist, as they do across Wall Street, of white men.
Goldman will post a new page on its internal website, as well as its public-facing site, that explains the use of pronouns and tries to help people think about why gender identity is so important.
The bank will also give employees three specific ways they can opt to share their pronouns with colleagues if they wish – adding it to their e-mail signature, writing it onto a flag that can be displayed on their computer or desk, or printing it on a name tag used for a conference or internal event.
The company will also update the 14 business principles that have defined the firm since John Whitehead wrote them in 1979. Principle No. 7, which talks about the importance of the workforce in Goldman’s success, has a passage that mentions the importance of having employees who reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. The language will now use the word “people” instead of the phrase “men and women.”
It will read: “For us to be successful, our people must reflect the diversity of the communities and cultures in which we operate.”