Are Your Business Systems Truly Gender Friendly?

Are Your Business Systems Truly Gender Friendly?

A YouGov survey has revealed that:

  • A third of LGBT people have concealed their identities in the workplace
  • 35% of LGBT employees fear discrimination.

The charity, Stonewall, is urging employers to take an active role in supporting their trans staff.

While employers can look at educating and training staff in trans inclusion, what about the infrastructure of businesses.

Never has gender been so fluid, and so varied as it is today. Many people do not identify with the binary categorisations of male or female, and the list of non-binary categories seems to grow by the minute.

But what about our business systems? Are they intrinsically transphobic, or are they gender friendly?”

How Acceptable are Gender Variations?

Society has changed and continues to do so. What was once regarded as unusual, or even unacceptable, is now a part of the everyday.

Generally, people are more accepting and tolerant of others who are different to themselves.

The announcement that someone is gay will usually be met with a shrug of the shoulders, and attitudes to gender variations moving toward the same ‘who cares?‘ mentality

There are now various options for how people who do not identify a male or female might refer to themselves, including, but not restricted to:

  • Bigender
  • Demigender
  • Polygender
  • Two-spirited person
  • F2M
  • M2F

At the same time, there is now a debate about official documents, including birth certificates and passports, and whether they should continue to demand that people define themselves as either male or female.

For many organisations and businesses, the decision of how to allow employees to define themselves is within their own control, if they look at their systems for recording and processing data.

Gender Friendly IT

Many IT systems are set up only to define people as either female or male. When it comes to registration and other forms, their fields are limited.

If you or one of your employees lodges a request with your HR department to be referred to officially with a gender neutral or other non-binary pronoun, will your systems be able to meet your request?

This doesn’t need to be a fixed, unmovable issue. Your IT support should be able to create custom fields, allowing for entry of several different gender variations, depending on user preference.

Does it matter? A workplace’s culture is not just defined by people’s behaviours. Creating a climate of acceptance and diversity means ensuring any individual feels as comfortable as possible in their own skin when at work.

Could having a full set of non-binary categories pre-loaded into your business system benefit your diversity programme and help everyone feel that they are in an inclusive environment?

There is a reputational impact. For new starters and recruits, they would not feel forced to choose a gender they might not identify with when first signing up.

Incorporating a broader gender spectrum in your business systems can help to demonstrate the depth of your diversity and equality when it comes to your culture.

What do your systems say about your business?