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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?

Why should this post be closed?

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

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12 answers

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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.

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

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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.

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

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32939. 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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Use either a Ms. or Mrs. in front of your name on the application. If they still can not get the clue, it is not your fault!

I am a native English speaker having lived in the USA all my life. I thought Morgan was a guy's name and breed of horse. Tells you how much I do nor know! They tend to be a breed of beautiful animals, by the way.

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32949. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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As a person of color, I've sometimes had a version of the same dilemma. Is there a professional organization for people of your gender and expertise? If so, you could join the organization, and then sign as follows:

Morgan Meredith
American Women Tech Writers Association

or

Morgan Meredith
Member, American Women Tech Writers

If there is no such organization, you could consider putting one together. It might not need to be anything much beyond a Facebook page, since its real purpose is not to burnish your credentials, but to subtly announce your gender.

As a side note, if there is a real organization like this, they might have additional good suggestions or guidelines for your current quandary and/or others you may face as an underrepresented member of your field.

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32890. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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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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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.

There's also evidence that diversity credos harm diversity, precisely because applicants who would usually be vigilant about not disclosing their race or gender (if not white male) are more prone to let their guard down, and then face racist or sexist discrimination.

So if your goal is optimizing your hiring chances, I would draw into question the assumption that companies will bias toward their diversity goals. It may yet be best to use a gender neutral name and accept the sad state of the universe.

As a counterpoint, in the U.S., companies are legally bound to not discriminate on the basis of "protected categories" including gender.

Source: Harvard Business Review

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32971. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Another option you may want to consider is to add your preferred pronouns to your email signature. I'm in academia, and I'm starting to see this more frequently. It's particularly useful for trans or non-binary individuals to make their preferred gender pronouns explicit, and it is slowly gaining some traction among cis gendered individuals who want to help make this the norm so it's easier for trans/non-binary people to state their pronouns (explained here). It can also be super useful if you communicate internationally, where people may not label your name with the correct gender, or in cases like yours where your name is gender neutral.

You'd just add something like this to your existing signature:

pronouns: she/her/hers

Here's another link with more info and examples. A lot of people aren't used to seeing something like this, but it's pretty unobtrusive.

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32900. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Don't you send a CV with your application? My CV has a photo of myself in the top right corner opposite my name and address. If you look female, your gender will be clear.

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32901. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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If you are submitting to a professional journal that (like many) puts a short blurb about the author(s) somewhere in the article or journal, you could provide a suggested blurb and ensure that there is at least one feminine pronoun in it somewhere.

If they don't, or you don't know, you could say, "in case you need an author's introduction, here is a suggestion:"

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32928. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Your work should speak for itself. If they address you in an incorrect formal manner, such as Mr, Mrs, or Miss, then just respond with a thanks with the correct or preferred title. Your appearance, name, or sexual preference is not irrelevant to your work.

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32947. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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