University of Derby climbs Stonewall Workplace Equality Index

21 January 2019

The University of Derby has risen almost 200 places in the Stonewall UK Workplace Equality Index, the LGBT organisation has confirmed.

Derby has climbed 189 places to 131st in the 2019 index, which has been published by the charity today (21 January).

The index assesses employers’ achievements and progress on the delivery of LGBT+ equality in the workplace. The improvement in the University of Derby’s position has been welcomed by its Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Jo Bishton.

Dr Bishton said: “It is wonderful to see that what we have done to make the University of Derby a more inclusive place to work and study has been recognised by such a large rise in this hugely important index. The role of the LGBT+ Staff Network at the University has been instrumental to our success.

“We are very clear that we aim to create an environment at the University which is open, diverse and safe, and that we respect the rights and dignity of all people regardless of their background. The University is working with more LGBT+ agencies to provide placements for our students.”

Over the past 12 months, the University has hosted the Derbyshire LGBT+ Network conference, attended by public service leaders from across the county, where the network’s Role Models booklet was launched.

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kathryn Mitchell, and the Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Health and Social Care, Dr Paula Holt, are both allies for the Derbyshire LGBT+ Network, alongside Derbyshire Chief Constable Peter Goodman, Chief Fire Officer Terry McDermott, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, among others from health and local authorities.

Members of the University’s LGBT+ Staff Network, chaired by senior lecturer Sarah Barley-McMullen, celebrated the contribution of the LGBT+ community by representing the University at the 2018 Pride event in Derby. Staff induction processes and training have been developed to increase LGBT+ awareness, while the University has flown the flags of LGBT+ communities at its campuses in Derby, Buxton and Chesterfield to mark IDAHOTB Day (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia).

Dr Bishton added: “One of the most pleasing developments is the support that hundreds of our staff are showing for LGBT+ equality every day, by requesting and wearing the University of Derby’s rainbow lanyard for their identity passes. We are also working with our Union of Students to ensure we have one voice on LGBT+ issues.”  

The University will once again host the Derbyshire LGBT+ Network Conference in 2019. It will roll out its campaign for role models and allies across the University’s sites and hold events to mark LGBT+ History Month in February.

Professor Mitchell said: “As educators we have a responsibility to challenge thinking and behaviour that creates barriers to inclusion, and to influence change. We are delighted that our efforts so far have been rewarded and recognised nationally.”

Derby, which is already an accredited Stonewall Diversity Champion organisation, was recently ranked as the third most LGBT+ friendly university in the country by the Alternative UK Universities Guide.

Read more about the Stonewall UK Workplace Equality Index.

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at the University of Derby.