Ford and GM Adopt Gender-Neutral Language Companywide

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, CBS Detroit

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:  F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:  

GM) have both replaced the use of “chairman” with "chair" in an effort to create more inclusive work environments.

According to The Detroit Free Press, Ford notified federal regulators on July 9 that its board of directors voted the previous day to amend the company bylaws to “adopt gender neutral language throughout" the organization.

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Effective immediately, Bill Ford’s title is now “chair” of the 118-year-old company founded by his great-grandfather.

In a statement, Ford spokesperson Marisa Bradley said, “Our roles at Ford aren’t gender exclusive, and these changes help limit ambiguity and contribute to the inclusive and equitable culture we’re creating.”

GM made similar changes back in May, CNBC reported. Spokesperson David Barnas said the company did not amend its bylaws, but made the changes internally and to the GM website

“Mary Barra’s title adjustment from Chairman and CEO to Chair and CEO is just one of many changes at General Motors in our journey to be the most inclusive company in the world,” Barnas said.

Barra, who took on the “chairman” title when she began leading GM’s board in January 2016, is the first female chief executive officer and chair of a major automaker.

The changes come as many corporations have made pledges to step up efforts to improve diversity in the wake of social unrest spurred by the #MeToo movement and George Floyd’s murder. 

Earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase & Co eliminated gender designations from its bylaws, replacing “chairman” with “chair” and gender-specific pronouns like “he” and “his” with non-gender-specific terms such as “director."

Bloomberg News reported that the bank “scrubbed its gender designations as pressure grows from both society and investors on global businesses to show they are diversifying and becoming more inclusive.”

Microsoft Corporation’s professional networking site, LinkedIn, announced plans in March allow users to add their preferred gender pronouns to accounts in the US, Britain, Sweden, Canada and Ireland.

The platform said it made the change in response to demand from users.

“Clearly members want to feel empowered about how they self-identify,” said Bef Ayenew, head of engineering for identity and profile at LinkedIn.


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