Skillsoft values the unique strengths and talents of every individual and is committed to strong positive actions to advance, nurture, and sustain a culture that appreciates and champions diversity, equity, and inclusion


What Are Pronouns?

In place of a person's name, people use pronouns like you, she, he, and they, to name just a few, in order to avoid repeating the same word over and over again. When we share our personal pronouns with others, we are communicating the third-person singular pronouns that we’d like others to use when referring to us in conversation. These pronouns may change over the course of one’s life and are not necessarily tied to a person's sex assigned at birth.

While the gender-specific pronouns he and she typically refer to male-identified and female-identified individuals respectively, gender-neutral pronouns do not associate the subject of a sentence with a specific gender. The majority of gender-expansive individuals, or those who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, agender, etc., do not identify with he and she pronouns. Instead, these pronouns conflict with their internal sense of self and many self-identify with gender-neutral pronouns like they/them.

What Is Gender Identity?

Gender Identity is the personal sense of one's own gender. How an Individual defines themselves and their gender based on societal views of what is masculine and what is feminine. Gender Identity Is distinctly different from Gender Expression, Biological sex or Sexual Orientation.

why we support this effort

An Impactful way to normalize the use of pronouns is to include them in your email signature. There are a few reasons why this is beneficial:

  • When cisgender people include pronouns, it normalizes the practice for everyone and protects trans and gender diverse people when they include their pronouns.
  • Having pronouns in an email signature signals you as an LGBTQIA+ ally.
  • Including pronouns in your email signature is a quick and easy way for cisgender people to have a powerful and positive impact. This is harder and riskier for transgender and gender diverse people because it leads to longer conversations and asks them to educate people. This is problematic because members of marginalized communities struggle with these issues every day and may be on a journey of acceptance or understanding themselves.
  • Using an Individual's correct pronouns Is a powerful affirmation of self for transgender/gender non conforming Individuals. It validates one's Identity, encourages authenticity, and builds inclusive and supportive cultures.

How to include your pronouns:

  • In your email signature, add your pronouns (she/he/they/ze/etc) after your name.
  • Use a hyperlink to this webpage on the pronouns so people can learn more by clicking on them. If you have any difficulties, please contact your workplace IT department.

Other ways to be more inclusive:

  • Include your pronouns in your LinkedIn profile by adding them after your last name.
  • Ask people politely what personal pronouns they use – we shouldn’t assume pronouns based on appearance, name or any other factor. This can best be achieved when we introduce ourselves - "Hi, my name is Sarah. I go by she/her pronouns. How should I refer to you?"
  • Use the term Personal Pronouns instead of the term ‘preferred’ or ‘gender’ pronouns - although people often mean well when they use these terms it can imply that pronoun selection is a preference rather than a requirement and using ‘gender’ can ignore agender people.
  • If you get pronouns or a name wrong, it’s good to acknowledge a mistake (privately) and try to get it right next time.
  • Be an active ally and help others understand why this is important. Pronouns are tied to an individual's deepest sense of Identity. They articulate who we are and how the outside world should recognize and address us.

Glossary of gender Identity Terms:

  • Agender - Someone who feels neutral towards their gender and rejects the influence of gender on their person.
  • Cisgender - those who identify with the sex/gender they were assigned at birth.
  • Fa’afafine - (Samoa, American Samoa, and Tokelau), Fakaleiti or Leiti (Tonga), Fakafifine (Niue), Akava’ine (Cook Islands), Māhū (Tahiti and Hawaii), Vakasalewalewa (Fiji), and Paloma (Papa New Guinea) Fa’afafine and others listed above are some Pasifika terms used to describe cultural and gender identities. They are more or just as much about familial, genealogical, social, and cultural selfhood.
  • Gender diverse - A person whose gender identity or gender expression differs from a given society’s dominant gender roles. Gender diverse can refer to those who are transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, or have other identities outside the gender binary.
  • Hijra - A word used in the Indian subcontinent to describe intersex people, and transgender people. This community also use the words Kinnar or Kinner to describe themselves.
  • Intersex - A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female. Intersex people may identify as male, female or non-binary.
  • Nonbinary - An umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
  • Taahine - Taahine is similar to mixed gender, sometimes non-binary, or transgender not-otherwise specified. This speaks to the intersection of Māori and non-cisgender identities.
  • Takatāpui - Takatāpui refers to Māori who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender. It is used both as a gender identity (similar to transgender), as an attraction or sexual orientation (similar to lesbian, gay, bi, or pansexual). It is also used as an umbrella term for all non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender Māori people (similar to ‘Rainbow Community)’.
  • Tangata ira tane/whakatāne - Tangata ira tane roughly translates as trans man. This speaks to the intersection of both Māori and trans man identities.
  • Trans/transgender - those who identify with a different sex/gender than the one they were assigned at birth.
  • Two-Spirit – A term used in Native American communities which refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit.
  • Whakawahine - Whakawahine roughly translates as trans woman. More literally, it translates as being or becoming, in the manner or spirit of a woman. Many Māori trans women are whakawahine, love this term, and prefer it over transgender, transsexual, or other terms. Some Māori trans women feel that ‘whaka’ or ‘to create or become’ holds an implication that they are not women, and reject this term on that basis, often preferring Taahine or Takatāpui.