Issue date: 12 January 2012
UWE Bristol has achieved a ranking of 77 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, the definitive list of Britain's most gay-friendly employers, it was announced today. The University shares the 77 ranking with Manchester City Council and the Royal Navy. Four other UK Universities made the top 100 including the University of Cambridge, University of Salford, Cardiff University and Liverpool John Moores University.
UWE Bristol has improved its position by 57 places from last year Yukiko Hosomi, UWE Bristol's Equality and Diversity Officer has led the work to improve the Stonewall standing, she said, “We are absolutely delighted at this achievement – there are only a handful of Higher Education institutions in the top 100 Stonewall index. It was a collective effort and made possible because we have a strong commitment and support from our HR Director, Equality and Diversity Champion and other colleagues particularly those from UWE's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Staff Network.”
Kate Thomas, Co-Chair with Debra Boyask of UWE's LGBT Staff Network, said, “This is really encouraging news and demonstrates the consistent and collaborative efforts of the network, the Equality and Diversity Unit and UWE's diversity champions to raise visibility and enhance policy and practice relating to LGBT staff.
“When I first came to work at UWE I was very surprised at the invisibility of LGBT staff and issues within the University but that is not the case now. Achieving 77 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index is a welcome recognition that becoming involved in workplace LGBT equality, while often challenging, is very worthwhile. It also sends an important message to potential students who are LGBT, that they are valued by the university”.
As a Stonewall Diversity Champion, UWE has been working with Stonewall in creating a more inclusive working environment and hosted the University-wide seminar on LGBT inclusive workplace where all staff were invited and key issues such as staff training, bullying prevention and changing culture were discussed.
UWE Bristol's commitment to LGBT equality goes beyond workplace issues and the University developed LGBT action plan which addresses issues for both students and staff including sponsorship of Pride Bristol in August 2011. UWE is also named as one of the most LGB-friendly universities for students in Stonewall's University Guide.
Ron Ritchie, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Partnerships, Diversity & Civic Engagement, said, “UWE is committed to being an inclusive institution that celebrates and benefits from the diversity of its staff and student body. Work on the Stonewall Index contributes to this ambition. We are really pleased that our progress has been recognised through our improved rating and I congratulate the Equality and Diversity team, the staff and student LGBT networks and other colleagues on their commitment and efforts that led to this result."
Ian Apperley, Human Resource Director says, “The Stonewall index measures a wide range of workplace indicators, most of which are relevant for all staff and not just LGB employees. Stonewall's award is therefore a ringing endorsement for our HR policies and people management practices.”
”Competition for a place in the Top 100 was fiercer than ever this year” says Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive. “With new, more demanding criteria, every employer securing a position in the Top 100 has performed impressively – and the participating employers collectively employ over 1.9 million people. The Index remains a powerful tool used by Britain's 1.7 million gay employees and 150,000 gay university students to decide where to take their talent and skills.”
Stonewall was founded in 1989 by a small group of women and men who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act.
Section 28 was an offensive piece of legislation designed to prevent the so-called 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools; as well as stigmatising gay people it also galvanised the gay community.
The aim from the outset was to create a professional lobbying group that would prevent such attacks on lesbians, gay men and bisexuals from ever occurring again. Stonewall has subsequently put the case for equality on the mainstream political agenda by winning support within all the main political parties and now has offices in England, Scotland and Wales.