The HR Forum

Hi all

HR in the news again today on the radio and the call for genderless UK passports to allow people to define themselves as "X" as an alternative to male or female.

Stonewall, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights group, said it would benefit people who face difficulties at passport control.

The government said it was reviewing the way gender is marked in official documents, including passports.

More on this here

I was wondering whether this was something which your organisation already accommodated or if indeed this may then flow through to items such as application forms and new starter details etc.

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this.


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  • Putting my practical head on. A passport is for identifying a person as belonging to a certain country and its used to track travel etc. It could still serve that purpose without it having gender marked on it. Not going to be a major threat to anyone's national security then.

    Whether I feel anything about what it says about society - I'm not sure. Does it even matter what I feel about it anyway. It doesn't directly affect me in any meaningful way.

    If it genuinely doesn't matter whether employees are male or female then I don't see why application forms need to ask gender. The thing is though, organisational bias (or lack of it) is a different kettle of fish to individual bias (conscious or otherwise). By not having anything about gender on the application form, you're just allowing people to get a step further in the recruitment process before that part of their identity gets evaluated by the potential employer.

    In practical terms I don't think these type of changes will equate to much, I think it's more about what it shows about social and organisational values. There are a few articles on here about employee engagement and happiness in work and how it affects productivity and workforce churn. I think this question relates to those issues in quite a powerful way.

    More of a musing there than a direct answer....

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