Majority of civil servants reject Scot Govt ‘pronoun pledge’ push

A majority of civil servants have rejected a push by the Scottish Government to take a “pronoun pledge” by putting preferred pronouns in their email signatures, a survey has revealed.

Nearly 60 per cent of the 3,000 respondents to the internal survey set up by supporters of the pledge said they had no intention of using pronouns. Only 17 per cent said they did so already.

The pledge invites staff to use she/her, he/him, they/them or “zie” or zir” at the end of correspondence.


The Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans said civil servants’ concerns about the pledge were “disappointing”.

controlling, illiberal and authoritarian

In a statement, a Scottish Government representative said it was “making progress towards our ambition to be a world-leading, diverse employer”, but that it remained an “individual’s choice” on whether to participate in the pledge.

But For Women Scotland (FWS) director Trina Budge said the Scottish Government’s actions were “controlling, illiberal and authoritarian”.

She added: “In forging ahead with this or any associated coerced signing of a pledge, the Scottish government would, potentially, be discriminating against a protected belief and also inviting sex discrimination”.

Redefining ‘woman’

Last month, FWS began its appeal against a judgment stating that the Scottish Government can redefine “woman” to include men who identify as female.

In March, Court of Session judge Lady Wise stated that the Government was legally permitted to class men as female in a law designed to address the number of women on public boards.

A full hearing is expected later this year.

Also see:

Women’s rights group to appeal Scot Govt’s redefinition of ‘woman’

NI Civil Service: ‘Use trans pronouns or face the sack’

CPS tells prosecutors to use ‘preferred pronouns’ in court

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