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Diversity and Inclusion

Creating Inclusive Teams | Rainbow Laces Campaign

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Rainbow Laces for Safety Boots - creating inclusive teams in rail


Our rail infrastructure is the framework which unites the UK. An exciting and varied industry, its clients and projects offer a wealth of employment opportunities for people of all backgrounds. That includes lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people.

You’ll find people in your everyday lives who are out and open about their sexual orientation and gender identity. These individuals feel supported and empowered to work within our diverse industry. This is often down to the hard work of colleagues and role models at all levels of organisations. However, many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people continue to feel (and expect) that the rail industry, may not welcome them. They often feel that it’s best to keep that part of themselves private or worry that people might react badly if they are found out. Gender stereotypes, bullying at school and a lack of visible LGBT role models create barriers which prevent young people and adults from being themselves and applying for roles within our sector.

You have the power to be a positive influence in your working environment. Our rainbow laces for safety boots campaign is to demonstrate our support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in our industry.

When people feel like they can be open with those around them they perform better and can stop wasting energy hiding who they are.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE LGBT?

The Government estimates 3.9 million people or 6% of the population identify as lesbian, gay or bi in the UK. It is estimated that 650,000 people, or 1% of the population identify as trans in Great Britain. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people come from all communities and backgrounds including people of different faiths, people with disabilities and people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

LGBT. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Lesbian, gay, bi and trans (or LGBT) people are often talked about as one group. But there are important differences. The terms lesbian, gay and bi describe some people’s ‘sexual orientation’.

  • Sexual orientation is a person’s emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to another person.
  • Lesbian refers to a woman who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards women.
  • Gay refers to a man who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards men. It is also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality, and some women identify as gay rather than lesbian.
  • Bi (or bi) refers to a person who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards more than one gender.
  • The term trans describes some people’s ‘gender identity’. We are assigned a sex at birth (male or female) but our gender identity is our internal sense of our gender (male, female, something else). Our gender identity may, or may not, sit comfortably with the sex we are assigned at birth.
  • Trans is a word that describes people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Trans woman describes someone who was assigned male at birth but whose gender identity is female.
  • Trans man describes someone who was assigned female at birth but whose gender identity is male.
  • Non-binary is an umbrella term for a person whose gender identity does not fit naturally into the generic categories of male and female.

Pronouns are words we use to refer to people’s gender in conversation. For example, ‘he’ or ‘she’. Some people prefer gender neutral language like they/their or alternatively ze/zir. Asking someone which pronouns they prefer helps you avoid making assumptions and potentially getting it wrong. It also gives the person the opportunity to tell you what they prefer. If you make a mistake, apologise, correct yourself and move on. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people use a variety of terms to describe their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the terms people use may change over time.

UNDER THE EQUALITY ACT 2010

Sexual orientation refers to a person’s emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to another person.

Gender reassignment refers to anyone who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. The law protects individuals from discrimination and companies should support anyone taking steps to ‘reassign their sex’ (or transition), whether those steps are ‘social’ (e.g. changing their name and pronoun, the way they look or dress) or ‘medical’ (e.g. hormone treatment, surgery).

The other characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, and sex.

HURTFUL LANGUAGE AND STEREOTYPES.

HOMOPHOBIC, BIPHOBIC AND TRANSPHOBIC ‘BANTER’ OR LANGUAGE IN THE WORKPLACE

What is it?

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language include jokes, ’banter’ or abuse that is negative or disrespectful towards LGBT people. It can also be language that reinforces negative stereotypes. Anyone perceived to be ‘different’ can become a target of this language even if they aren’t themselves lesbian, gay, bi or trans. Homophobic language includes phrases like ‘That’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’; when people use gay to mean something’s rubbish or bad. This also includes terms of abuse like ‘faggot’, ‘fairy’ ‘poof’, ‘dyke’ or ‘lezza’ intended to be offensive about gay men and lesbians.

Biphobic language is anything that is offensive or undermining of bisexuality. For example, calling someone ‘greedy’, saying ‘they’re going through a phase’ or ‘why can’t they make their mind up and just come out as gay’.

What's the problem?

Transphobic language and attitudes include using words like ‘it’ or ‘heshe’ about trans people; refusing to use the pronoun someone has asked you to use or their correct name in conversation to cause intentional hurt is transphobic; saying things like ‘are you a man or a woman?’ or ‘you’re not a real man/woman’ as well as making inappropriate comments about a trans person’s body, medical history or gender identity.

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language in the workplace is a problem because:

  • It gives the impression that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is wrong or shameful
  • It often makes individuals uncomfortable, preventing them from being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with colleagues. This can negatively affect how people perform and reduce their involvement
  • It can lead to more serious incidents of bullying and encourages prejudice against anyone who is seen as being ‘different’ or assumed to be LGBT

Key point: ‘Banter’ is harmful and always needs to be challenged.

STEREOTYPES ABOUT LESBIAN, GAY, BI AND TRANS PEOPLE IN THE WORKPLACE

Stereotyping about sexual orientation, gender and gender identity affects who feels welcome in the workplace. Often these stereotypes are about reinforcing what forms of masculinity or femininity are seen as acceptable, and impacts all people, not just those who are LGBT.

Gender stereotypes reinforce prejudice towards anyone who behaves or expresses themselves outside of what’s considered ‘normal’. An example of this is using expressions like ‘man up’ or ‘don’t be such a girl’

The idea of difference about lesbian, gay or bi individuals in workplace often focus on how they don’t fit traditional gender norms or gender roles in society. For example, to be a ‘real’ man you are masculine and strong, and to be a ‘real’ woman you are feminine and emotional.

Examples include:

  • Gay or bi men are effeminate, weak and hate dirty jobs.
  • Lesbians or bi women are masculine.
  • Members of the LGBTQ community are trying to convert others.
  • Using stereotypes like these both prevent people from being themselves in the workplace and send the message that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is unwelcome or abnormal.
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HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR LGBT COLLEAGUES?

Use gender neutral language and avoid stereotypes about what is masculine or feminine behaviour.

Always challenge language, behaviour or ‘banter’ that is offensive to lesbian, gay, bi and transpeople.

Make sure it’s as unacceptable as other types of behaviour, like racism or religious intolerance, and communicate this to team members.

Be approachable as a supervisor and make the effort to find out more about local organisations and groups that offer support to LGBT young people or adults.

Challenge positively. Use questions and explain why and how someone’s words and actions have an impact.

Wear your rainbow laces with PRIDE.

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    The Inclusive Culture Pledge 2020: Our Commitment to Building an Inclusive Culture

    DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION | 2 MIN READ Morson are proud to announce that we have joined leading companies from a range of sectors and industries in signing the Inclusive Culture Pledge in 2020, an initiative managed by diversity consultancy The EW Group. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is becoming increasingly important for both employers and employees. Research has shown that diverse businesses are 35% more likely to financially outperform their industry’s national average. For potential job hunters, 67% now consider a diverse workforce is an important factor when considering job offers. By signing up to the Pledge, we will have the support of the EW Group, a specialist in diversity and inclusion. Throughout the year, our staff will receive specialist support in leadership, people, brand, data and future. Joining the Pledge is a public commitment that we take diversity and inclusion seriously and that we understand the need to provide our employees with a safe, fair and supportive place to work. We’re looking forward to the events provided as part of the Pledge, which will build our internal capacity and ensure we work at the cutting edge of diversity and inclusion. This is an initiative that we believe will benefit our staff, customers and stakeholders. “Signing the Inclusive Culture Pledge for another year furthers our goal to deliver internal cultural change to combat negative, harmful gender stereotypes. With the support of organisations like the EW Group, over the last few years we have been able to achieve a shift in our organisational practice, culture and viewpoint and have been able to make headway in transforming our own talent pipeline and that of our clients. Our diversity strategy has sponsorship from executive board level and volunteer ambassadors from across the business have regular strategy meetings, as well as engaging with key stakeholders from our clients’ organisations. In 2020 we will be continuing our inclusivity journey to educate our workforce, support our clients and most importantly, inspire the next generation by sharing stories of success” – Sam Price, head of client engagement and Morson ED&I lead For more information about our diversity and inclusion initiatives visit our Diversity Hub, or to get inspired check out our Inclusive Role Models series.

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    Charlotte Lewis, Head of Technology at Morson Features in Northern Power Women Future List

    The country’s largest awards championing gender equalities announces the Future and Power Lists for 2020. Northern Power Women today have released the names of 102 women who have contributed to making a difference in their communities and organisations as well as raising awareness of gender equality across the North of England. The Power List celebrates women who challenge the norm and use their influence and power for good. The Future List recognises the leaders and change-makers of the future who are already making a difference in their environments and communities. Morson is particularly proud this year as one of their own, Charlotte Lewis, Head of Technology – Vencuro has been featured in the Future List. Commenting on her fantastic achievement, she said: “I'm delighted to be a part of the Northern Power Women's Futures list which celebrates women and men working towards creating gender balance in organisations across the entire Northern Powerhouse. As a working mum since the age of 23, I strive to inspire others by demonstrating that with the right mindset, you can balance work and home life. Ultimately my vision is two-fold: inspire women to use imposter syndrome to their advantage, and highlight the ways technology can support businesses striving for stronger ED&I. I’m truly passionate about empowering females to help them realise that a job title isn’t congruent with success or respect. Instead, true happiness lies with finding a role that brings you satisfaction, a path that suits you, and evolves at every stage of your life. Having in my 30s entered a senior role at a typically male-dominated level, I harnessed this very belief and channelled my confidence to achieve something special for the Morson Group, and I want to show others that you can overcome this same fear and instead use this energy to empower yourself.” Now entering their fifth year, the Northern Power Women Awards supported by headline sponsor EY celebrate the women and men who work towards creating gender balance in organisations and who passionately support equality across the North. “We are delighted to be headline sponsors of the 2020 Northern Power Women Awards. The awards fly the flag for women across the region and it has been a pleasure connecting with so many amazing women over the last three years.” Victoria Price Partner, EY The awards, which are now the largest in the country, showcase and spotlight the winners not only during the awards event, but also continuously throughout the year, to ensure ongoing visibility for these role models and to use their presence to inspire. 52 amazing individuals have been added to the Future List and a further 50 to the Power List sponsored by Manchester Airports Group. Northern Power Women is the only pan-northern campaign accelerating gender equality and involves a range of activities including connecting, influencing, thought leadership, and an annual awards ceremony. Simone Roche MBE, founder and CEO of Northern Power Women, who was interviewed on BBC World News yesterday, said that this year’s awards have seen an impressive 75% increase in the number of nominees for both the Power List and Future List. “Once again this year I have been absolutely amazed at the outstanding number and quality of nominations we’ve received and it has been hugely impressive to see the range of organisations represented – from defence, media, rail and tech to influential academics and entrepreneurs,” said Simone. “I’ve always known there were incredible role models in and from the North, but after receiving almost 1500 nominations, I have to say that even I was astounded. Our incredible category panels made up of 65 judges had a difficult – but inspiring – time identifying the shortlisted nominees.” “All levels of influence and sectors are recognised,” Emily Cox MBE, Northern Power Women judge and Power List ambassador said “It is fantastic to see so much representation from across the North within the Future and Power Lists”. The winners of the Northern Power Women Awards will be announced on 16 March at a gala awards night and dinner at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. To find out more about our commitment to diversity, visit our diversity hub.

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    Bringing Your Whole Self to Work | Samantha Clinch Discusses LGBTQ+ in the Workplace

    “In a previous workplace I definitely think I was treated differently because of my sexuality, but the industry has changed a lot since then.” Samantha Clinch is a recruitment manager for the Energy, Power and Construction division at Morson. Openly out since she was a teenager, Sam speaks to us about prejudice, overcoming stigmas and the power of truly inclusive workplaces. Tell us about your first career steps... "The very first job I had was working in the Trafford Centre in a DVD shop. Being a film lover, it was my ideal role. I was out at that time. In fact, I’ve always been out at every job I’ve ever had... I don’t think it ever occurred to me to not be. My first recruitment role was with a small company in Manchester city centre. Their culture was aggressively target driven and quite old-school, they would have no issues making an example of someone if they weren’t hitting their targets. On my first day I was told by the office manager that if I had a complaint it was tough because they didn’t have a HR team to complain to! I only stayed there a few months because it was such an unsupportive environment. A few people expressed surprise that I stayed in the recruitment industry after that." Has being openly LGBT at work ever affected your career? Have you ever felt like you have been treated differently because of your sexuality? "At a previous role, a senior manager took a dislike to what they classed as my ‘chosen lifestyle’. This phrase says it all. My sexuality is not a chosen lifestyle and using terminology like this is incredibly reductive and ignorant. In addition, the managers day to day behaviour towards me was inappropriate and often hostile. Because of this conduct I did make a complaint, but they had a one-person HR team and nothing was done about it. Suddenly, despite hitting all my targets, I was let go at the end of my probation period. The company's reason was that I “wasn’t promoting the company values” and when I tried to dig into what exactly was meant by that phrase, I got nowhere. I sent a lengthy email about unfair dismissal and was able to meet with the managing director and HR personnel. I detailed the managers inappropriate and prejudicial behaviour but afterwards got a letter from them which stated that I hadn’t been there very long, so I had very few employment rights. By this time I was already working somewhere else and I just wanted to move on and forget about the whole experience rather than pursue it." What's your experience of being out in your current role? "I feel incredibly comfortable being out at Morson and have never had any kind of negative experience regarding my sexuality. I’ve never had an issue or felt like I was being treated differently or marginalised in any way. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never been a problem and that’s exactly how it should be." Has the industry changed since your career began? "Recruitment has changed a lot over the last 10 years and Morson has always been an inclusive place to work with a real community spirit. With regards to the industry outside of Morson, I think the negative experience I had in my previous role, while certainly not an isolated incident, is not representative of the industry as a whole. I was in another recruitment role for over 5 years before that experience and didn't encounter any bias. In fact, I was promoted twice! My experiences illustrate the importance of challenging negative and discriminative behaviour, no matter the position or seniority of that individual, to create open and inclusive environments where everyone feels comfortable to bring their whole selves to work. Unfortunately, in my case, the manager was able to use their position to exercise their stigma because no one felt comfortable enough to challenge their actions" What advice would you give a member of the LGBT community just starting out in their career? "Do things at your own pace. Don’t feel like you need to be out but at the same time don’t feel like you need to hide it. It’s everyone’s personal choice as to whether they’re out or not and you shouldn’t let others dictate to you." Do you think there still needs to be education regarding discrimination? "I think people in general need to have more education about discrimination. LGBT rights have come a long way in the past 10 to 20 years though and things are very different to when I came out growing up. There’s always steps to be made though and people who still view it as ‘wrong’. I feel confident that by opening up conversations and challenging negative behaviours, things are going in the right direction." Ready to take the next step in your career? You can search all of our current vacancies here. Want to read more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion? Click here to read our blog.

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    International Women’s Day | We Chat to Peel Ports, Automation Technician, Emma Sanders

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    Morson Celebrates a Year of Creating an Inclusive and Accessible Recruitment Process with ReciteMe

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