Co-authored by Alix Sampson, Performance Analyst and Amelia Phillips, Functional Analyst
Until a decade ago, many LGBTI+ people around Australia were leading invisible lives – concealing their sexuality and self-editing their identity in the workplace and other public forums.
The past ten years have seen huge changes, however, with the LGBTI+ community winning many rights and protections that were previously denied to them, including marriage equality and the right to adopt children.
Despite these momentous outcomes, many people in the LGBTI+ community still face discrimination and prejudice.
There’s more to be done
Recently PwC and Pride in Diversity released a report about the low visibility and engagement of same-sex attracted women in the workplace.
They found that same-sex attracted women are 12% likely to be out at work than men, and one in five has left a workplace before the age of 26 due to lack of inclusion. Of the 1,270 women surveyed, 29% said they believe being same-sex attracted has impacted their career progression.
So we started having conversations with other organisations about 'bridging the gap'.
Two months later, we created Rainbow Women in collaboration with ANZ’s Pride Network – an informal network to connect and share ideas to support same-sex attracted women in the workplace.
The group is made up of people from different organisations in Melbourne’s Docklands area and has started to meet monthly to discuss how we can further build inclusion in our workplaces. We want people to feel safe and have a sense of belonging – to be truly who they are every day without self-editing a part of their identity.
And research shows that when LGBTI+ people are out at work, businesses see a 15 to 30% increase in productivity, while retention rates improve by 10%.
But when only 65% of same-sex attracted women are comfortable being out to most or all of the people they work with, there’s clearly a lot more to do.
We hope Rainbow Women will help make an impact. And we hope that in the future, everyone will feel accepted, and the need for these networks won’t exist. We’re excited for the future and for what it holds for the LGBTI+ community, and Rainbow Women is an important step towards that.
If you are a Rainbow Woman or know other Rainbow Women who work in the Docklands area that may like to be involved, please email AGLShine@agl.com.au
Amelia Phillips (left) and Alix Sampson (right) at an AGL Shine event sharing their stories of LGBTI+ inclusion.
A note on language
This article uses the term LGBTI+. We know this is a limited term, and that not all people who are affected by the issues raised in this article will identify with it. We use it as consistent and representative terms for the diverse range of sexual orientations (including lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and queer) and gender (including cisgender, transgender, intersex, and gender diverse). We acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of identities in our community and know no one term can encompass them all.