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Goldman Sachs launches pronoun initiative, making it easier for employees to identify their gender

The enterprise will eventually include updating the bank’s internal directory to allow workers to identify their preferred pronouns.

(Richard Drew/AP)

NEW YORK — Goldman Sachs, one of Wall Street’s oldest and most famous banks, announced an initiative Friday to make it easier for employees to be identified by their gender identity, including coaching workers on how to handle meeting new people.

“Proactively share your pronouns to foster an environment of respect and awareness (ex: ‘Hi, I’m Karen! My pronouns are she/hers. Welcome to the team!’),” the bank encourages employees in the announcement.

A person’s pronoun shouldn’t be assumed by their name or appearance, the bank counsels. “Made a mistake? Don’t make a big deal out of it or draw extra attention to it; instead, make a swift apology and use the correct pronoun(s) moving forward,” the announcement says.

The 150-year-old bank also included examples of potential pronouns and how they could be used. The gender-neutral “Ze/ Zir (Zem)” can be used in a sentence such as “Ze went to the store” or “I spoke with zir / zem,” the company explains.

Apple Card algorithm sparks gender bias allegations against Goldman Sachs

As part of phase one of the initiative, employees will also be able to attach flags to their desks that identify them, including as an “ally” or “LGBT member.” Next year, as part of the second phase of the initiative, the company’s internal directory will also allow employees to include preferred pronouns.

While such initiatives are still rare in the typically conservative, buttoned-up banking world, non-binary identities have become increasingly visible. Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster said the pronoun “they” may be used to refer to a “single person whose gender identity is non-binary.” The District, California and New York, among other parts of the country, have begun offering a gender option of “X” on identification cards.

Goldman Sachs said it launched the initiative after two employees came out as transgender and the bank began to think more broadly about gender issues. “We believe in fostering an inclusive environment where they feel comfortable to be their authentic selves — and that should be welcomed and valued by their team and by the firm,” the bank said in the announcement.

The initiative comes a few weeks after a prominent Danish entrepreneur complained on Twitter that his wife was denied a credit line increase for the Apple Card, despite having a higher credit score than him. The allegations has sparked a regulatory investigation of Goldman Sachs, which issues the card.

The bank said at the time that credit assessments are made based on individual income and creditworthiness, which could result in family members having “significantly different credit decisions.”