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F5 Networks bolsters support for LGBTQ+ colleagues

F5 Networks bolsters support for LGBTQ+ colleagues

 March 25, 2020

F5 Networks has launched the UK and Ireland (UKI) branch of its F5 Pride Employee Inclusion Group (EIG) and also hosted the company’s first pan-EMEA F5 Pride: LGBTQ+ @ Work Symposium, highlighting best practices for diversity and inclusion.

The activities follow on from F5 unveiling its Code Connects Us All (CCUA) vision and ethos which informs the company's code of ethics, from inclusivity and community support to the way its product teams innovate.

Invaluable support from employee network groups

Sarah Campbell, Head of Conferences and Events at Stonewall, kicked off the symposium's proceedings by discussing the importance of proactive employee action, and the potential for inclusion groups to enhance diversity, acceptance and business outcomes.

“LGBTQ+ employee network groups are invaluable in so many ways. They provide peer support to individuals and help organisations get their policies and practices right. When done correctly, this kind of initiative can have a significant positive impact on both staff and the wider community,” she told F5 staff.

Citing Stonewall’s extensive LGBT in Britain – Work report, Sarah highlighted how almost one in five surveyed LGBT people have experienced negative comments in the workplace. The same proportion of LGBT ethnic minorities said that their sexual orientation overtly curtailed promotion opportunities.

Other findings include the fact that one in eight transgender people had been physically attacked by a colleague or customer. Furthermore, nearly two in five bi-sexual respondents remain closeted due to perception concerns, whereas one in three identifying as non-binary feel they cannot wear attire suited to their identity.  

In addition to the moral imperative for LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace, Sarah also spoke about the practical business case for doing more.

“It just makes strong business sense, whether it is attracting talent, increasing employee satisfaction, enhancing the company image or improving decision-making by integrating a greater diversity of personalities and perspectives,” she added.

According to Stonewall, the key tenets of a successful network or EIG group are to promote peer-to-peer support mechanisms, raise awareness (internally and externally) and establish a clear culture of accountability. Long-term success will require representatives for specific identities (which can include people from a range of backgrounds and orientations), engaging non-LGBTQ allies, and working with external support groups and communities.

Bringing values and tactics to life

Perry Glikman, a Principal CM Engineer at F5, also spoke at the event to describe how he is bringing these exact values and tactics to life in Israel.

F5 Pride in Tel Aviv has gone from strength to strength, growing in numbers and facilitating a wide range of awareness-raising, activism and community-building projects. The successes and lessons learned to date are already influencing the wider rollout of F5 Pride in EMEA.

“My vision is that everyone at F5 is comfortable expressing and celebrating who they truly are,” Perry explained. “I urge everyone to think about their colleagues and friends. What do they need to be comfortable and happy in their own skin at work? How can you contribute to that? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how you can make a difference – whatever your background and wherever you are based.”

The day concluded with the official launch of the UKI branch of F5 Pride, which is spearheaded by NGINX’s Cork-based Scott De Buitléir and Stephen Spillane.

Playing a pivotal role in the workplace

F5’s EIG groups are specifically designed to make a difference in the workplace, playing a pivotal role in supporting both internal and external communities. Each group has full executive and company backing.

In addition to F5 Pride, F5’s EIG groups include F5 Appreciates Blackness (committed to sharing the culture and background of all people of African descent); Multicultural (committed to attracting and developing a more diverse workforce); F5 Military Veterans (striving to actively promote, recruit, and support military veterans and families via programs of recognition, assistance, and outreach), Latinx y Hispanos Unidos (growing the Latinx and Hispanic presence at F5 through support and outreach); and F5 Connects Women (uniting F5 employees around the world to support the equality and advancement of women).

Further your career with a truly inclusive employer

F5 is an inclusive tech employer always looking for individuals who value innovation and agility.

Find out more about the career opportunities available with F5.


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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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