A determination to ensure students and staff have the freedom to be who they want to be has seen De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) leap up 19 places to 39th in the annual Stonewall Top 100 Employers table.
The table shows the best performing public, private and third sector organisations in Stonewall’s annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff, which celebrates the pioneering efforts of leading organisations in the UK to create an inclusive workplace.
More than 430 employers submitted entries to Stonewall’s 2017 audit, putting DMU well within the top 10 per cent of applicants for the first time – and making it one of the best performing universities in the UK. DMU was the third highest placed university and finished above business giants such as HSBC and BP as well as The Army.
DMU staff’s LGBT group, called the LGBTQ and Allies Network, was also highly commended by Stonewall for the support it provides.
Duncan Bradshaw, Director of Membership Programmes for Stonewall, said: “DMU and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list have done a fantastic job and really do put equality and inclusion at the forefront of their work.
“With DMU and other employers’ continued efforts and hard work we will continue to work toward a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff are welcomed and accepted without exception in their workplaces.”
Highlights of DMU’s work during 2016 included:
- Launching the DMU Freedom campaign, which cultivates an environment in which staff, students and partners have the freedom to be, freedom to inspire and freedom to succeed
- Holding the annual #DMUpride festival
- empowering trans people
- Launching a Centre for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) Research, which conducts internationally recognised and pioneering research into LGBTQ issues
- signing a partnership with the Leicester LGBT Centre to help the fight against prejudice and discrimination in the wider community
- signing up to the #NoBystanders campaign to fight bullying and sending LGBT students into schools to help empower those fighting homophobia
- taking LGBT students on an inspirational trip to New York Pride through the #DMUglobal scheme
- organising a show of strength among DMU sports teams who wore rainbow laces and #DMUpride t-shirts to their fixtures against other universities
- Working with Stonewall to bring Russian students over to DMU to experience LGBT life in another city and country.
Sarah Thomson, DMU’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see us rise up the Stonewall Top 100 for the third year running. The university has worked so hard to make DMU’s LGBT community aware that they are in a safe and accepting environment and know they can be themselves at work. I also want to say a huge thanks to Stonewall for recognising our work and for supporting us in numerous projects throughout the year that have campaigned for LGBT people.”
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Keira Rounsley, De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) Vice-President for Welfare and Community, said: “The fact we keep rising up the tables shows our commitment to making all students and staff comfortable in the workplace and ensure they can be who they want to be.
“It is amazing to live and work in a city like Leicester and around a campus which is so accepting of everyone. Since I came out at university nobody has judged me and the support has been fabulous. I am so proud to be a part of DMU.”
Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, shared his experiences as a gay academic in The Times Higher Education magazine in May last year and has said one of his many missions is to make students and staff more comfortable about coming out.
Prof Shellard said: “DMU entered the Stonewall Top 100 for the first time two years ago and I am proud of the fact that, in 2017, we now stand in the top 10 per cent of all UK workplaces for the inclusive environment we create and promote. This is a wonderful tribute to, and worthy recognition of, the pioneering spirit of our students and staff who go out of their way to ensure that everyone feels they can be who they want to be, freely and without prejudice.”
The good news for DMU comes as it prepares to celebrate its annual #DMUpride festival which runs throughout February.
Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception.
It was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who wanted to break down barriers to equality. Stonewall continues to campaign and lobby government to change laws to ensure everyone, everywhere, is free to be themselves.
Stonewall works in partnership with a growing network of more than 700 organisations to help create real change for the better. It campaigns to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empowers LGBT people and their allies to be role models wherever they live, work, shop, socialise or pray.
To get involved visit www.stonewall.org.uk
Posted on Thursday 19th January 2017