Fiona O’Connor (back row, third from left) with the other Sapphire panellists in Adelaide.
The dual impacts of being both a woman and identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex (LGBTI+) in the workplace is often referred to as the ‘double-glass ceiling’. That’s why AGL Shine is committed to working with other organisations and groups – like the Sapphire initiative – to help break down barriers and create a more inclusive and supportive workforce.
Sapphire was created under Pride in Diversity to generate greater awareness of the unique challenges faced by LGBTI+ women in the workplace. The initiative provides an opportunity for these women to openly express and discuss these challenges in a safe, professional environment.
Earlier this month, Sapphire and Out for Australia joined forces to host a panel session in Adelaide featuring our very own Fiona O’Connor. Fiona is a Technical Coach, AGL Shine member, and founder of the Adelaide chapter of Rainbow Women.
The event also offered her the opportunity to engage with a room full of enthusiastic and like-minded women.
“When I came out as a lesbian, I was 18 and still living in my home city (Dublin) at that stage,” Fiona said.
“There was an LGBTI resource centre in Dublin where you could go to attend roundtable chats with other members of our community, and also schedule in one-on-one consultations. I found this resource hugely helpful, particularly during those first few months.”
“I’ve been in Australia for seven years now, and there is still a gap in the resources available in South Australia to support women in the LGBTI+ community. That’s why it was so great to be part of this special session organised by Sapphire.
Fiona says her goal now is to ‘break the double glass ceiling’ and create more opportunities for same-sex attracted women to connect and communicate with one another in safe, professional spaces.
“Rainbow Women in Adelaide is growing rapidly,” Fiona says.
“We now have representation from a wide range of professions and organisations, including Mercer and the University of Adelaide. I think this is because our focus has been on keeping our networking more personable, with more human interaction and less reliance on online or social media communication.”
Next stop – Sydney!
The Rainbow Women have now spread their wings to Sydney as well, with Deloitte organising a networking event under the Rainbow Women banner in August.