National Inclusion Week begins on 27th September. – A great opportunity for organisations to demonstrate their commitment to equality by removing titles from their systems and processes.
Our recent coverage in the Daily Mail Online (27/08/21) detailed our recent contribution to BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, headlining the ‘split opinion’ about the usage of marital status titles.
We don’t believe that opinion was, or is, as ‘split’ as the Mail Online suggested, based on the volume and tone of the comments received by Anita Rani on the radio show.
A very large number of listeners demonstrated clear views that titles are now old-fashioned, and do not represent them.
In three years of research and campaigning, the GoTitleFree team has found no legal reason for individuals to choose a title, nor any reason for organisations to know your marital status title.
GoTitleFree must stand for the abolition of marital status titles in order to demonstrate how easily identity freedom can be achieved.
Our campaign is not about removing womanhood from any person, nor telling people that they must not refer to themselves with a title. On the contrary, we are challenging businesses to go ‘title free’ in order to allow the people they engage with the freedom of choice. Businesses can drop the requirement, and anyone who wishes to keep their title can absolutely still use it socially in any way they wish.
Businesses need to refer to the GoTitleFree Best Practice Guide to learn how to give people better choices on how to be referred to in communications.
Whilst we’re delighted at the Mail Online’s coverage of our campaign, it’s is not ‘women’ as an entire group who will benefit from the removal of titles from our society. We will always take the opportunity to remind our supporters, and organisations on a journey to demonstrating best practice, that going title free will benefit many people, in these groups and more:
- Female divorcees who don’t want to give businesses any more detail than their ex-husbands. (Hitched.co.uk advises brides to be that there are 24 places to change your details with at the point of marriage. – That’s 24 places to change back again in the eventuality of divorce. The husband in this partnership doesn’t need to do this work).
- Widows who do not want or need the persistent and unnecessary reminder. Men (on average) die five to ten years earlier than women, so there is a strong likelihood that all those women who remain married will have to tick ‘Mrs’ in those drop down boxes for a lot longer than the widowers who get their ‘Mr’ throughout their entire life.
- Married women who simply do not want to buy in to the idea of being a property transaction between their father and their husband. (NB. We are not suggesting that all married women feel this way).
- Unmarried women who are forced to decide on an identity which best suits them according to the moment, their perceived age and the irrelevant purchase.
- Non binary individuals. The approximate 0.4% of the population who are going to great lengths to quote ‘they/them’ as their pronouns. When these people are asked to choose between ‘Miss’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’, ‘Mr’ and ‘Dr’, they are forced to give an untruthful answer. They are also being told that they do not fit into an acceptable category.
The article by the Mail Online overly highlighted the comments from women who liked their title and did not want to have their ‘Mrs’ taken away. Never has our campaign been about removing an authentic identity. We’re pleased that those who love their ‘Mrs’ title have the option to choose this. However none of the people represented above are as lucky, and it’s so important to enable that freedom of identity for everybody by removing the request.
For businesses who want to demonstrate their commitment to gender diversity, inclusion, and progressiveness, there is no place for marital status titles.
Our team is looking forward to hearing from those employers who are going title free as part of their work to creating a positive inclusive culture, either as part of their work for National Inclusion Week, or otherwise. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our Best Practice Guide on becoming title free.
If you represent an organisation which is already title free, please tell us so that we can share your example!