By Christina Fowler
Recently, LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall released a list compiling the UK’s top 100 most inclusive employers and for the first time ever, Cardiff University placed in the top ten.
Last year, Cardiff University ranked 11th, narrowly missing the prized ‘Top 10’ position; this year, however, rankings show Cardiff University is 10th in Stonewall’s ‘Top 100 Employers 2020’.
Additionally, Cardiff University’s LBGT+ staff network, Enfys, was named ‘Network Group of the Year’ by Stonewall for its work promoting inclusion, providing confidential support and organising events to raise awareness about LGBT+ History month and Trans Day of Remembrance. The network has shared experiences from BAME, disabled and older LGBT+ people to help highlight the range of experiences LGBT+ people go through and what a strong support network can do for them.
Cardiff University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Holford, said: “The University is delighted to have made it into the top 10 of the Stonewall Top 100 employers for the first time.
“This achievement represents over a decade of commitment to LGBT+ equality including policy development, introducing LGBT+ into our curricula, increased support for our trans staff and students and working together with our LGBT+ student community and our fantastic allies to create an environment where people can truly be themselves.”
Prof Holford also said: “[Enfys] has gone from strength to strength over the past 12 years and its recognition…is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of many members of staff from across the University.”
To score a spot on Stonewall’s top employers list, employers must complete the UK Workplace Equality Index. This is an annual, voluntary index investigating the inclusivity of a working environment, looking at workplace policies, benefits, community engagement, role models, customers and much more.
Questionnaires are also sent to employees by Stonewall to hear their perspective. Looking at both employer and employee submissions allows experts at Stonewall to cross-check and analyse submissions before releasing the Top 100 Employers List.
Cardiff University Student Union’s LBGT+ Officer (Open), Zachary Edge, spoke to Gair Rhydd about the University’s achievement, saying, “It feels incredible to know the University has not only been ranked highly again but actually managed to improve which shows they continue to champion LGBT+ rights as a priority” and highlighted what he believes the University should aim for – not just acceptance and consistency but constant improvement and understanding as our knowledge and community changes.
Gair Rhydd also contacted Rebecca Fisher-Jackson, the SU’s LGBT+ Officer (Women’s) but did not receive a response.
Whilst the University is right to celebrate its achievements by making it onto this prestigious list, arguably there is still more to be done. In October 2019, the BBC reported that homophobic hate crimes in England and Wales rose 25% between 2018 and 2019 and Welsh Assembly members called for urgent action after the data was released, and amongst LGBT+ students at Cardiff University, there also seems to be a sense that more can be done to support the community.
However, Sanjay Sood-Smith, Stonewall’s Executive Director of Workplace and Community Programmes, commented: “We are delighted to name Cardiff University as one of our Top 100 Employers this year.
“We still don’t live in a world where everyone is able to be themselves in the workplace, as we know more than third of LGBT+ staff in Wales (34%) hide who they are work. By taking steps to make their workplaces supportive and welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, businesses like Cardiff University are bringing us closer to a world where everyone is accepted without exception.”