In line with our welcoming and inclusive brand personality, avoid assumptions about gender in your writing. When writing about a specific person, ask them which pronouns they use for themselves (e.g., she/her/hershe/him/histhey/them/theirs). If a person does not identify with male or female pronouns, the plural they is preferred.

  • For example, “Samantha loves to paint. They take every painting class on campus.”

The plural they is also helpful when writing about a general person whose gender is not known instead of using the “he or she” construct or “s/he”. Though casual, this is Oregon State’s preferred style in marketing materials.

  • For example, “When a student moves into their residence hall, they should bring their own pillow.” When possible, pluralizing can help you avoid this construct: “Whenever students move into their residence halls, they should bring their own pillows.”

Beyond pronouns, avoid all gender stereotyping in your writing. For example, use firefighterpolice officerchair or chairperson. Use these rather than assuming gender in job titles.

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