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14.02 Elimination of Sexual Stereotyping, Correspondence; names and forms of address

The form preferred or used by the person being addressed or referred to should be retained if it is known. Otherwise, the following guidelines should be applied in order to ensure uniform and equal treatment of the sexes.

  • In formal correspondence, use Ms., Mrs., Miss or Mr. When the addressee is a woman, and her preference cannot be ascertained, use Ms.:

    Dear Ms. Samuels:

  • If the gender of the addressee is not known, begin your reply with "Dear" followed by the person’s initials and surname:

    Dear J. D. Simmonds:

    Where the name of the addressee is not known, use the form "Dear Sir/Madam" or "Dear Madam or Sir."

  • When writing to an organization or to unspecified individuals, use an inclusive salutation:

    Dear Members of the Rotary Club:
    To the Consumer Relations Department:
    To whom it may concern:

An alternative is to use the memo format and omit the salutation.

See also 10.17 Salutation or greeting.