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LGBTQ+ History Month – How can we achieve equality in the workplace?

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​I’ve recently been on some webinars ran by Interlaw Diversity Forum. I’ve spent time listening to people from a variety of backgrounds and industries within the legal sector, talking about their experiences of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DE&I). I’ve listened to personal and professional experiences of a range of people in the legal industry such as lawyers, ex-lawyers and recruitment consultants, and how we might do better when it comes to DE&I. 

It's clear we’ve come a long way, but there is plenty more to do when it comes to equality in the workplace -  recruitment, retention and progression/promotion is where important change needs to happen. 

This month, February, is LGBTQ+ History Month – Did you know this? 

I’ll be honest, I didn’t. So I did some research. 

February was named LGBTQ+ history month in 2014 and is the month in which the LGBTQ+ community celebrates its history. It’s a month where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can celebrate and talk about the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements.

This month is intended as a means to raise awareness of, and combat, prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community by celebrating its achievements and diversity, and making it more visible.

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DE&I for the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace seems one of the most difficult to achieve; not because the talent pool is not diverse for LGBTQ+ people, but because most people do not wear this side of their identity on their chest like a badge. To really diversify the workplace for this community, I feel there needs to be more trust built for people to be able to talk openly about this side of themselves– and it seems we’re just not there yet.

Stonewall, a charity for the LGBTQ+ community, ranked the top 100 LGBT inclusive employers, and in 2020 only 15 law firms featured. It’s fantastic to see that this is across both London and the regions, with Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, DWF and Irwin Mitchell as key regional names! 

In addition to ranking over 500 UK employers, Stonewall also found that 1 in 7 LGBTQ+ employees in the UK hide who they are at work, and 1 in 5 have experienced discrimination when applying for jobs.

We don’t yet live in a world when people can bring their authentic selves to work, which we know because the research suggests that 35% of LGBTQ+ staff hide who they are at work. So how can we change this? The message that I’ve been getting from various seminars and reading content online, is that there needs to be more open conversations between people. Let’s celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month and the progress made so far, but recognize there is far more to do to get to a point where everyone is accepted without exception.

I cannot, by any stretch, profess to being an expert on this subject, or any other when it comes to DE&I, but I’d love to learn more. I’d love to hear your views – please get in touch!   

If you are looking for a new role in the Legal Private Practice space, or looking to hire the best talent for your business, please get in touch with me on:

Emma Delli-Bovi

Business Director

07879 764 003