By Ellen McGirt
April 20, 2017

Yesterday we ran a reader survey which included a question that failed to consider non-binary or non-conforming gender identities. I’m still slapping my forehead.

I was alerted to the oversight by a slew of reader mail, all of which was kind, clear and direct.

Rebecca Schatschneider from Temple University was the first to hit my inbox. “Ouch! You usually do such a fantastic job using language that’s inclusive of non-binary gender identities,” she began. “So imagine my chagrin when your first survey question served up a big old M v. F either/or! I hope it was just an administrative oversight, as I’m sure you have other readers for whom this is a false choice as well.”

Ouch indeed! Rebecca was absolutely right, and it was my mistake. The first part of the survey used “standard” questions that are applied to all of Fortune’s newsletter surveys; in my haste to focus on the raceAhead-specific questions, I missed it, and the opportunity to revisit the gender framing. I apologize to our readers and my colleagues.

Thanks to all the feedback – an astonishing number of you wrote to alert me to the problematic item– the survey team, equally chagrined, immediately changed the question so future inquiries will be more inclusive and better reflect our true values.

“Don’t beat yourself up too much, Ellen. We’re all on a journey here, right?” reader Kurt Greenbaum said by email. “And the truth is, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it myself not that long ago, were it not for the work of people like you and the grace of many others who have led me into a deeper understanding of these issues.”

The grace of many others, indeed. Thank you to all who helped us do better- – the response to the survey across the board was incredibly helpful. And again, I offer my heartfelt apology. We see you.


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