University of Sheffield named Stonewall Top 100 Employer 2019

University of Sheffield named Stonewall Top 100 Employer 2019

 January 22, 2019

The University of Sheffield has been recognised as one of Stonewall's Top 100 Employer 2019. This is the sixth year running that The University of Sheffield has received this prestigious recognition for their commitment to building an LGBT+ inclusive workplace and tackling discrimination.

At position number 23, its highest ranking to date, The University of Sheffield has certainly made fantastic progress in promoting and enacting inclusive policies and practices - and its thanks to the talented women working there who strive to make a difference in their careers.

The forefront of innovative initiatives 

Professor Gill Valentine is the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and Senior LGBT+ Champion, who is passionate about creating an inclusive workplace at The University of Sheffield.

"I am very proud to be the LGBT+ Champion for the University of Sheffield. I came out at a time when being openly gay was taboo - there was no protection from equality legislation, section 28 of the Local Authority Act was in place which banned the promotion of homosexuality, and bisexual, and trans issues were not even on the agenda," says Gill.

“I experienced discrimination and harassment in the early stages of my career which I overcame in part through the support of straight allies. That’s why I’m passionate about developing an inclusive work environment," adds Gill.

"Over the 30 years there has been real and positive change in relation to equality and diversity in the workplace and the University of the Sheffield has been at the forefront of many innovative initiatives to enable LGBT+ staff and students to reach their full potential. I am keen to continue the progress of this work as I recognise there is still more to be done."

Remembering a history of discrimination

Nadia Fernandes is a scientist from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Sheffield. Nadia is part of The University of Sheffield Open@TUoS, which was developed by the University's LGBT+ Staff Network to engage staff from across the University in working together to progress LGBT+ inclusion. 

Open@TUoS aims to empower all staff to help create an open, inclusive environment for LGBT+ colleagues and students at the University, by sharing information, encouraging people to become actively involved in LGBT+ activities and by asking staff to visibly support LGBT+ inclusion. 

The network now has 2,300 supporters committed to creating an inclusive workplace. New developments include an online training package, with input from University of Sheffield students. 

Nadia explains why inclusivity matters to her as a scientist.

“A scientist is defined by many things; curiosity, creativity, sagacity - sexuality was never supposed to be one of them. I wear my rainbow lanyard for the discoverers and the discoveries lost to discrimination and for those who are currently in danger of being dismissed from writing history," says Nadia.

Finally, Sarah Kennedy, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, says: “I value the hard work that the Staff Network do in terms of promoting LGBT+ issues which in turn has inspired me to promote this on a faculty/departmental level.”

Making progress with trans inclusion

The University of Sheffield has also been recognised as a Stonewall Top Trans-Inclusive Employer for the progress it has made with trans inclusion.

The University  has held face-to-face training sessions aimed at increasing its understanding of trans inclusion and incorporating this into everyday practices. So far, nearly 100 people have attended, and further training has been arranged for key groups of staff.

It has pledged to continue to make trans inclusion a priority, including inviting transgender representation onto the Gender Equality Committee.

"The University of Sheffield and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list are making a huge difference to workplaces, services and communities across the UK...More than a third of LGBT staff still hide their identity at work for fear of discrimination; that has an impact on productivity, wellbeing and more and shows we still have lots to do," says Darren Towers, Stonewall’s Executive Director.

"However, with organisations like Sheffield displaying such a strong commitment to LGBT equality, we are one step closer to creating a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are welcomed and accepted without exception."

Join talented women making a difference at the University of Sheffield

As a prime employer for women and an advocate for a diverse workplace, the University of Sheffield has excellent career opportunities available across many departments. Where will your higher education career take you?


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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