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Gender Data Enablement Project

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The IDEAL sponsored Gender Data Enablement project is one of many cross-campus initiatives through which Stanford hopes to create an inclusive, accessible, diverse and equitable university for all community members. 

Transgender, gender queer and non-binary community members are not currently represented in Stanford systems and in many lived experiences on campus. Starting with the students, the Gender Data Enablement project will improve how our core information technology systems collect and share gender and pronoun information with other campus systems with the addition of more inclusive options..

Project Overview

The goals of the multi-year project are to thoughtfully and purposefully:

  • Add gender data attributes to campus IT systems, such as pronouns and gender options to be more inclusive of trans, queer and non-binary community members.
  • Make that data available so that Stanford community members can be respectfully recognized in campus settings by their appropriate gender.
  • Ensure that all personal information entered by students, staff and faculty is properly protected.
  • Inform students, staff and faculty about how and where their data may be used, for example by other Stanford systems.  
  • Develop more inclusive institutional reporting that is representative of Stanford’s diverse community.

Starting with information gathering, the project team will be conducting interviews and workshops with campus community members (students, faculty, staff, postdocs and alumni), as well as researching the capabilities and considerations around core campus systems, policies, privacy, functional business needs, and data reporting requirements. Findings and recommendations will inform implementation plans for gender data on campus.

Initial implementation plans include: 

  • New self-selection pronoun option in Axess for students 
  • Class rosters for faculty will include pronouns
  • Housing assignments will include gender-inclusive self-service options for undergraduate students. 


The Gender Data Enablement project originated from infrastructure needs identified by Gender Data @ Stanford (GD@S) Working Group and Gender Inclusive Stanford (GIS) to address how the needs of transgender and non-binary community members and the lack of options for pronouns and gender identity in core Stanford systems like the student information system (SIS) and human resources (HR) system. This data enablement gap negatively impacts gender inclusivity on campus, including services experiences, and the accurate reporting and representation of campus community members.

What is Gender Data?

Gender is a set of socially constructed associations with biological sex, such as behaviors, appearance and social roles. For this project we are considering the data elements that are associated with a person’s gender identity, expand them to be inclusive of trans, queer and non-binary people, and how to include them in core campus systems to support a more gender inclusive Stanford.



Data collection

Example Uses

Legal Name

The name that identifies a person for legal, administrative and other official purposes. 

For transgender people, it can be considered their “deadname” and seen as offensive when used in place of the person’s preferred or lived name.

Entered when hired or admitted and updated on request after a legal name change

Passport, medical insurance billing

Preferred Name

Also known as a person's lived or chosen name, usually a first name that is different from a person’s legal name.

Entered when hired or admitted and can be updated in self-service mode.

Class roster

Zoom name


The sex that identifies a person for legal, administrative and other official purposes. 


Entered when hired or admitted

Medical billing

Financial Aid

Selective service registration (men)


The set of pronouns that an individual would like others to use when talking to or about that individual

Misgendering occurs when the wrong pronouns are used.

Students: Axess self-service option for Summer 2022

Staff and Faculty: TBD

Class roster

Zoom name (pronouns)

In-person gatherings

Gender Identity

How someone internally identifies with social gender constructs, regardless of their biological sex

Gender identity offers options beyond the binary male/female designations associated with sex.

Students: Axess self-service option for Summer 2022

Staff and Faculty: TBD

Housing assignments (future)

How will Gender Data be Used?

Gender data is important on a personal level, to campus community members, as well as to the institution. Some examples of the uses and value of enabling gender data at Stanford are the following:

  • Access to services and campus systems that currently assume a binary gender, resulting in impacted trans and non-binary community members having to navigate extra steps, be inconvenienced or harmed, and potentially blocked from access to important resources.

  • Pronouns added to class rosters along with guidelines and best practices in support of inclusive classes and classroom settings, and to avoid misgendering and protected identity harm.

  • Institutional reporting and biographical data for dashboards, for example in recruiting faculty, staff and postdocs positions, as well student admissions. Data displays showing the diversity of gender identity on campus serve an important role in raising awareness and educating the community about trans and non-binary members and their needs. Dashboard data is aggregate information and not personally identifiable.

  • In advocacy and funding opportunities that are only possible through a better understanding of the size and makeup of under-represented groups on campus, for example making the case for additional gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

Currently, pronoun selection for students is enabled in Axess. For further information about data stewardship, see the pronoun data use and protection page.


Autumn 2021

Gathering needs of the campus community 

  • Human, technical and business

Winter 2022

Findings and recommendations

Implementation planning

Summer 2022

Phase 1 implementation

  • Students: new Axess self-service student profile fields for pronouns  
  • Faculty: pronouns added to rosters and the delivery of best practices to be shared with faculty on creating an inclusive classroom


Future enablement phases and timelines will be based on the project findings and recommendations, including systems readiness, for example:

  • Enable student pronouns in select campus systems, i.e. Canvas, Housing, VadenPatient, and the Stanford Directory

  • Enable students to submit gender options in Axess that will flow to select campus systems

  • Enable pronoun and gender options for faculty, staff, postdocs, and alumni in HR system

Project Team

Funded by IDEAL


  • Susie Brubaker-Cole (Executive Sponsor), Vice Provost for Student Affairs and leader of IDEAL Engagement System
  • Inge Hansen (Chair), Director, Weiland Health Initiative; Director, Well-Being at Stanford
  • Corrie Potter, Associate Vice Provost and Director of Institutional Research & Decision Support 
  • Johanna Metzgar, Associate Vice Provost for Student and Academic Services and University Registrar

Core Team

Sponsors plus Ashley Lippert (Project Manager), Alyssa Gager, Benjamin Davidson, Linda Regan, Ryan Guan, and Power of Design (consultants) Bernie Geuy, Daphne Ogle and Rachel Hollowgrass

Additionally, the project has two advisory committees for staff and students.

Contact Us

For more information and to learn how to get involved, please submit a support request.