Providing staff members with useful tools that will help them using an inclusive language: Adopting gender neutral pronouns

Problem (evidence)

A growing number of Warwick University students are recording gender-neutral titles and names and want the university staff to recognise that fact when engaging with them in writing and in person. 


To raise awareness about gender-neutral titles and names and ensure that the university culture, student records and buildings reflect the needs of students across the gender spectrum.


Website with information, gender expert with background in sociology/linguistics.

Staff Newsletter or other means of communication across the institution.

Departmental administrators (HR and/or Head of Department) forwarding information to staff about the issue. 

Encouragement from Heads of Department to follow the guidelines.

Brief outcomes

Greater awareness of gender-neutral students’ needs.

Change of university culture to reflect better the needs of students across the gender spectrum and embeddedness of measures across university.

Key area

The governance bodies, key actors and decision-makers

Type of action

Positive action/policy


University of Warwick
Higher education institution

Action level of implementation

Researchers/professors and technical and administrative staff


Initially, this action requires a decision about appropriate pronouns to use for students who identify as gender-neutral. It also involves liaising with the student records technicians to insert gender-neutral options (gender/name/title) on the student records electronic platform. At a second stage, to spread the information, the action requires writing two separate e-mails, one directed to UG and PG students and the other one to members of staff. The first one should include information on how students can change their gender identity, title and name in the Student Records. The mail to members of staff includes information about proper pronoun use for gender-neutral titles and names and provides links to websites with tips on how to handle gender-neutral students and posters to print out. To disseminate the e-mail university-wide, it is necessary to liaise with departmental administrators and HoDs. Check the following link for more information on the actual website: Information should then be summarised on a web page for both groups.


Staff might think that addressing gender-neutral students with different pronouns is not important and is an extra task they can do without.

Coping strategies

Be clear about the benefits of addressing this issue for students.