One Giant Leap for Diversity

Posted in News

Pride-launch

De Montfort University, a public research and teaching university in Leicester, has leapt almost a hundred places in Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index to 75th place, entering the list of Top 100 Employers for the first time. The Index is the UK’s definitive list of the most gay-friendly places to work. We talk to them about how they’ve achieved such progress in Diversity and Inclusion. 

Why does De Montfort University place such value on diversity and inclusiveness? 

The simple answer is, ‘Why wouldn’t we?’. Under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard, De Montfort University has taken a positive stance on diversity. DMU is proud of its research and practical work  including: dealing with homophobia in sport,  health care issues  and access for lesbian women,  surrogacy  arrangements and gay men who wish to have a family. The university also has excellent lesbian and gay role models among the governing body and the senior leadership teams. De Montfort is located in the multi-cultural city of Leicester, which has one of the few remaining LGBT centres in the county, who now support a partnership agreement with DMU. With sucha diverse workforce, student body and stakeholder group, it is really important to us that all of our students and staff feel that they are treated fairly and that we take account of diversity in the way we plan and deliver our services to them. It may seem a cliché but we do really believe that people perform better if that can be themselves.

 

What kind of initiatives do you have to promote diversity and inclusiveness within your organisation?
 
First of all, Equality and Diversity responsibility is embedded throughout the institution and is now written into all job descriptions for new staff.  There are LGBT network groups for our staff and students and these are not only opportunities for socialising but also for giving considered feedback and advice to the university on our plans, policies and practices. We run celebratory events for all our staff and students and are particularly delighted to be staging  a wide range of DMU Pride events in February marking LGBT History Month. This will include film shows, vox pops, talks and lectures, book club, rainbow flags and much more. 
 
How does De Montfort University support its LGBT staff?
 
The university has been reviewing its staffing policies, recruitment and selection processes, welfare arrangements and benefits. It is really important to us that LGBT staff feel that our support is inclusive. The LGBT staff network is supported, and the valuable contribution made by the network is acknowledged by the university. Staff are not expected to attend meetings in their own time. We have also started a positive action programme to ensure that under-represented groups are offered learning and development opportunities designed to help our staff progress in their careers.