Gender Sensitivity

People with rainbow flags

Gender is fundamental to many people’s identities – and it is essential to recognize and affirm everyone’s gender identity and expression, rather than imposing our own on them. It’s possible to do this unintentionally even when you act with good intentions – this is why we have developed these recommendations to ensure you can implement gender-inclusive language so that the full audience can feel represented and included.


To sustain and grow our business around the globe, we require different business perspectives and the valuable input of a variety of people. This leads to Bayer being a fair, inclusive and diverse organization. This is part of our long-term strategy that fits with our brand's personality and overarching vision. (For further details, please visit our global website So that we can also practice and live this in daily communication with each other and with others, in the following we give suggestions how to take care of diversity and inclusion in terms of speaking and writing.


Gender sensitivity

Using gender-inclusive language means speaking and writing in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender or gender identity, and does not perpetuate gender stereotypes.


According to the United Nations (UN), gender in English has a specific meaning, differentiating between

  • “grammatical gender” (masculine/feminine/neuter),

  • gender as a social construct” (referring to the roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society at a certain time considers appropriate for men or women) and

  • “sex” as a biological characteristic of living beings (male/female/others) 


To take care of diversity means the true inclusion of people – regardless of age, disability, ethnic origin, gender, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, physical characteristics, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation, or skin color. From a pure linguistic point of view, being inclusive regarding gender is the most critical point. Language affects acceptance for gender diversity: Using gender-sensitive language improves public perception and attitudes about women and LGBTQ+ people.


Although our Corporate Language American English has very few grammatical gender markers, we have compiled some practical tips to enable gender-sensitive language:

  • When addressing a woman on a formal basis, please use “Ms.” rather than “Mrs.” as the former can refer to any woman regardless of her marital status.

  • Use the gender-neutral honorific “Mx.” in addressing non-binary people or those who do not wish to implicate a gender in their title.

  • We recommend using gender-neutral expressions such as ‘flight attendant’ instead of ‘steward/stewardess’. If there is no gender-neutral expression available, address the grammatical genders.


Try to avoid ...

... masculine forms by default
instead, use neutral equivalents e.g.
spokesperson for spokesman,
chairperson for chairman 
... the use of words with
“man-”/“-man” as a component

instead, use neutral equivalents e.g.
humankind / humanity for mankind.
  • Try to ‘bypass’ and avoid the use of gender-marked pronouns and possessives (like he/she, her/his, himself/herself). See the following examples:

A staff member in Antarctica earns less than he would in New York.


lf a complainant is not satisfied with the board's decision, he can ask for a rehearing.


A substitute judge must certify that he has familiarized himself with the record of the proceedings.


A staff member in Antarctica earns less than one in New York.


A complainant who is not satisfied with the board's decision can ask for a rehearing.


Substitute judge must certify that they have familiarized themselves with the record of the proceedings.

All employees should feel safe at work. It is up to everyone to help foster an organizational culture built on inclusion, acceptance and understanding. 


One of the easiest ways to advocate for our transgender and gender non-conforming employees is by respecting the usage of pronouns. Respecting someone’s pronouns lets them know they are seen and valued. Referring to people by the pronouns they identify with is basic to human dignity. 


There are many ways people can be respectful of pronouns: 

  • Don’t assume: If you aren’t sure of someone’s pronouns, you can ask or use gender neutral language such as they/them.
  • Share first: Introduce yourself in conjunction with your pronouns, allowing others to follow suit and encourage everyone to share their pronouns in on open and unassuming manner. 
  • Don’t gate-keep: Pronouns are tied to an individual’s identity and are based on many factors. Simply respect an individual’s pronoun usage as communicated. 

Email Signature

Help your colleagues address you the right way by ‘personalizing’ your email signature and/or how you sign off your emails by putting “Ms.”, “Mr.” or “Mx.” in front of your given name, and/or adding your personal pronouns


for someone who
might identify as
for someone who
might identify as
for someone who might identify
non-binary or not identify strictly
as male or female, these pronouns
are considered ‘gender neutral’;
also used when referring to an
unknown person