Marks and Spencer introduce pronoun badges for employees

The pronoun name badges are optional for Marks and Spencer staff, but the company is receiving praise for its inclusivity and allyship.

Marks and Spencer pronoun badge
Image: LinkedIn @DavidParke

Marks and Spencer have paved the way for other companies to start introducing optional pronoun name badges to employees in the spirit of inclusivity and showing that all gender identities are accepted and respected.

The badges feature the Marks and Spencer logo, the employee name, and offer pronoun selections such as “He/Him/His”, “She/Her/Hers” and “They/Them/Their”, thereby eliminating the possibility of customers accidentally misgendering employees.

Including the option of “They/Them/Their” pronouns also signals to any employees who are gender nonconforming that they can come out without any judgment and with relative ease. Similarly, gender nonconforming customers know will know that Marks and Spencer are allies and feel more welcome when they see the employees’ pronoun badges because it highlights LGBTQ+ awareness.

Following a suggestion by an employee, the introduction of these badges came a few months ago, but garnered positive attention online when David Parke, the UK food public relations manager, posted a photo of his own badge on LinkedIn for International Pronouns Day.

“I’m so grateful that Marks and Spencer actively encourages us to share our pronouns at work, whether on our name badges or in our email signatures,” he wrote, adding that the move has “already helped start some very necessary conversations around gender identity and non-binary experiences.”

“Giving people the option to display their pronouns at work is really important as it encourages them to show allyship towards trans and non-binary colleagues,” Parke told the PA news agency.

“Many of us already include our pronouns in our email signatures, but when you’re talking to people in person it’s useful to know how they want to be referred to in order to help everyone feel comfortable and avoid any misgendering.

“Right now Trans people in the UK are facing more abuse and discrimination than ever before, and so it’s up to all of us to create an inclusive culture and make sure everyone gets the respect they deserve.

“It’s great that M&S is proactively taking these sorts of steps to support and celebrate LGBTQ+ colleagues.”

Marks and Spencer also posted on LinkedIn as a company, sharing Parke’s post and saying, “Recently, we introduced pronoun name badges for our colleagues, encouraging as many of them as possible to wear whichever combination of pronouns is right for them.

“An amazing initiative provided by one of our colleagues Morgen Kane to our Suggest to Steve programme, as we continue to build an inclusive future, together.”

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