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Q&A

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

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I have a gender-neutral name, so people often assume I'm a man.

However, a portion of the writing I do is for tech companies. Because of the lack of diversity in the tech industry, many of these companies are looking to add diversity to their contributor pools, so they place priority on people of color, women, LGBTQ writers, and so on.

Obviously, my work speaks for itself, but I'd like to have that extra weight as well.

How can I make this clear to editors when submitting? Would a photo in my email signature be strange?

I already include links to my LinkedIn, twitter, and other social media that show my photo. My website also has a photo. However, what's a good way to show I'm a woman without the editor having to click anything?

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/q/32886. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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5 answers

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You could create an avatar with a feminine name that you consistently use over the internet. Take for instance the avatar 'Lady of the Labyrinth' (not a professional name to be used in ICT, I agree). The person behind it has the name Maria Kvilhaug. You will find the connection between her avatar and her name immediately.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32959. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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This answer may be controversial and it hinges on you having stated that your "work speaks for itself"...

If you assume the tech industry has a bias towards men, then not stating you are a woman would actually be beneficial to you in this case, no?

On the other hand, if you assume there is no such bias towards men, then why the need to stress that you are a women?

Maybe you want to positively influence society by being a woman and publishing in the tech world (this is great!). But I propose you do that without using the fact that you belong to a minority but by your merits.

Otherwise this could backfire and some people might start to assume that contributions from a minority group exist despite low quality.

Though I understand the issue might not be that simple

As a side note, Morgan sounds pretty feminine to me, but again, I am not a native english speaker

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32939. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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I also have a confusing first name. When I want to clarify, I sign email as "Firstname Lastname (Ms.)". That conveys my gender as effectively as "Ms. Firstname Lastname", but by putting the title at the end and in parentheses, I don't look like I'm insisting on being addressed by that title.

I strongly recommend against putting your photo in your CV, cover letter, or any other application material. First, it opens the possibility of the recipient judging you on your appearance. Second, at least in the US and for the kind of jobs you're talking about, it's unusual, so you would stand out as not knowing how things are generally done.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32903. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Use a courtesy title which reflects your gender. Sign your submission as "Ms. Morgan Meredith." Subtle but unambiguous.

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I once saw someone in your situation address the problem by adding a (gendered) middle name to signatures. This could either be your real middle name if you have one, or a nickname that you're prepared to answer to.

If it's your real name, just write it normally:

Morgan Ann Meredith

If it's a nickname, that is, a name you're happy to have people use when talking to you instead of your given name, set it off with quotes:

Morgan "Kate" Meredith

You want to set it off so you don't end up with legal paperwork for a name that isn't your legal name. Some of my foreign-born coworkers do this with adopted western nicknames that westerners know how to pronounce and spell.

All of what I've said applies to email. For author credits in the actual articles, a middle name would be seen as normal (at least in the west) but a nickname would be more unusual. I'd skip the nickname there unless you know the publication is informal or you are well-known by your nickname (as sometimes happens with Internet personalities).

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