—–Envelope, Chair:
——–Mr./Ms./Dr. (Full Name)
——–(Name of Board/Committee)

—–Envelope, Member:
—-—-Mr./Ms./Dr. (Full Name)
—-—-(Name of Board/Committee)


—–Salutation, in writing:
—-—-Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. (Full Name):

—–Salutation, less formally or conversation:
—-—-Chair/Chairman/Chairwoman (Surname):


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Is a Woman a Chairwoman, Chairman, or Chair?

How would a woman board chair’s title be listed? Would it be chairman or chairwoman or just board chair? Last year a man held the position and, of course, the program read, ‘Chairman of the Board’.
———————– Sarah

Dear Sarah,
I don’t think there is just one way to do this.

Traditionally, the position was Chairman of the Board. That’s the terminology used when you discuss the position.

But a woman holding the position can be a Chair, Chairwoman or even a Chairman. Often the term used is at her personal preference: She gets the one she likes.

You aren’t the only one trying to figure out what is best. In checking The United States Senate’s website, it refers to a heads of the political parties’ conferences and committees as Chairs. In this case they have abandoned the gender-specific terminology.

But, on that same page the Senate also lists the heads of Standing Committees as Chairmen. When the office appears next to the name of the office holder, the word Chairman is used when the position is held by a man and the word Chairwoman is used when the position is held by a woman.

I’m not criticizing anyone, just noting I don’t observe a rule that everyone follows.

– Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”