The Diversity Champions programme helps companies to promote LGBTQIA workplace equality
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY PIXABAY
The BBC has announced its departure from the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme following recent controversies surrounding its coverage of LGBTQIA issues. It follows Channel 4 and Ofcom, reflecting internal concerns over its ability to remain impartial.
The Stonewall Diversity Champions programme champions LGBTQIA equality in the workplace, working alongside employers to embed LGBTQIA inclusion into the UK corporate sphere. It provides expertise on LGBTQIA policy, supporting participating firms in entering the Workplace Equality Index and the Global Workplace Equality Index and conducting regular reviews on internal support for LGBTQIA workers.
The BBC recently came under fire over the publication of an article attacking the trans community, prompting Trans Media Watch to call for an investigation into the BBC’s journalistic processes. Expressing concerns by a minority of the lesbian community, it was condemned by DIVA publisher Linda Riley.
Stonewall finds that almost one in five LGBTQIA staff have been targeted with negative comments in relation to their LGBTQIA status, making the work of the Diversity Champions programme indispensable in the fight for workplace equality. In conjunction, more than one third of LGBTQIA staff have refrained from disclosing their identity at work for fear of discrimination, and almost one in five LGBTQIA people have reported being discriminated against whilst seeking work.
Stonewall states: “It’s a shame that the BBC has decided not to renew their membership of our Diversity Champions programme, but as with all membership programmes, organisations come and go depending on what’s best for their inclusion journey at the time. We will continue to engage with the BBC on a number of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting”.
“Our Diversity Champions programme continues to thrive. We now work with more than 900 organisations to help create environments in which all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people can thrive. We are heartened that more and more organisations are choosing to support their LGBTQ+ employees”, it continues.
This is a bleak moment for public service broadcasting, setting a poor precedent for LGBTQIA representation both in the media and in wider workplace circles. But whilst the BBC’s decision to depart from the Diversity Champions programme is disappointing, Stonewall will continue to champion LGBTQIA equality in the workplace.
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