NatWest Announces Inclusive Uniform Change

The bank bids to make transgender employees feel more comfortable

November 17, 2021
NatWest Announces Inclusive Uniform Change
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NatWest has announced a trial for 2022 that will see new name badges being produced that give employees the option to include their preferred pronouns.

The name badges – made from bamboo in a bid to also be more environmentally friendly – will allow staff to select their own pronouns for the first time in a bid to make them feel more comfortable and respected in their place of work.

A spokesman for the bank has said that the intention is for both employees and customers who are transgender to feel more included when working for or using the bank.

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Other banks to follow?

Usually, when one bank makes a significant change like this, other banks will quickly follow suit. And already HSBC has confirmed that they are exploring similar ideas to make them more inclusive, while Virgin Money has also said they are looking at options.

NatWest isn’t the first though – Nationwide already offers the option to their staff. And various financial firms in the City may not use name badges but they do encourage staff to add their preferred pronouns to their email signatures.

The changes aren’t just limited to the banking sector, with other major companies in the UK offering staff the same opportunities, including Marks and Spencer last week. The Ministry of Defence has also told officials to state their preferred pronouns when in meetings.

However, it’s the banking industry with its traditional, male-led image that arguably needs a shake-up when trying to encourage a more young and diverse workforce than it is used to. Back in July, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank of England released a discussion paper that explored policy options designed to improve diversity in the UK banking industry.

Some of the options put forward for debate included linking management teams’ remuneration to their success in hitting diversity targets, as well as making senior leaders directly accountable for diversity and inclusion in their firms. While statistics were not given for the number of transgender banking employees, statistics did show that diversity was still an issue, with only 5% of CEOs in the FTSE 350 being women.

Trans issues highlighted

The move by Nationwide and NatWest to allow employees to state their chosen pronouns is seen as hugely important. The University of Wisconsin has released a study that shows that transgender people who are referred to with the wrong pronoun feel disrespected and alienated, and it can trigger gender dysphoria – where transgender people feel uneasy about the misalignment between their identity and biological sex.

Meanwhile, a study by the University of Texas in 2018 shows that young transgender people who were comfortable using their preferred pronouns at home, at work or at school had 71% less symptoms of severe depression, compared to similar transgender youths who were not able to express their preference.

Therefore, this change in policy by banks is seen as critical to protecting the mental health of their transgender staff.

Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis
Ian is an experienced writer with 15 years’ experience working in journalism and marketing. He’s worked in-house in financial institutions as well as writing freelance pieces for a variety of banking and financial trading websites.

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Mentioned Banks

About M&S Bank Marks & Spencer Financial Services PLC trades under the name M&S Bank. It is a UK-based retail bank, formed as the financial services arm of Marks & Spencer in 1985...
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NatWest, or National Westminster, is a retail and commercial bank based in the United Kingdom. It is one of the ‘Big Four’ UK clearing banks and has more than 7.5million personal banking...
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About HSBC Bank HSBC is a British banking and financial services company. It is the largest bank in Europe and the seventh largest bank in the world. The bank originated in Hong Kong...
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About Virgin Money Virgin Money is a bank and financial services company based in the UK. Originally launched as Virgin Direct Personal Financial Services in 1995, its second incarnation...
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About Nationwide Nationwide is a British building society and mutual financial institution. Headquartered in Swindon, it has additional offices in Glasgow, Bournemouth, Northampton...
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