Pride Day: What efforts is the industry actually making

Finance firms share the tangible efforts they are making to ensure the industry is more LGBT+ inclusive

When it comes to LGBT+ inclusivity in the workplace, in society and in the ability to serve the community as clients, the need for tangible efforts is paramount. Many investment firms have run LGBT+ internal networks for years, but properly constructed campaigns and initiatives are rarely shared.

This year, encouraging staff to share their pronouns and adapting to new remote ways of working by creating LGBT+ video content, appear to have been popular courses of action.

Both Aberdeen Standard Investments and Schroders have this year encouraged staff to include their pronouns in their email signatures and HR systems.

Lynne Connolly, global head of inclusion and diversity at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said the aim is to make gender non-conforming, non-binary and transgender people to feel comfortable to share how they choose to be identified. “This encourages all colleagues to engage and learn about the power of sharing pronouns.”

Schroders has also delivered a number of internal education and training sessions on topics such as mental health issues in the LGBT+ community, trans and non-binary ‘1-0-1’, and allyship, although the outcomes of these were not provided.

More tangible is Schroders’ financial support for the Albert Kennedy Trust again this year, a UK LGBT+ youth homelessness charity, as well as two other LGBT+ homelessness charities.

Sharing experiences

Meanwhile, Jupiter and Quilter have taken the route of making Pride videos for colleagues this year.

“The Jupiter Pride Network, an employee resource for LGBTQ+ colleagues, chose to mark Pride Month with a video celebrating the importance of solidarity,” said Claire Mediene, co-chair of the Jupiter Pride Network (JPN).

“Several of us came together to recite ‘We won’t let each other fall’, a poem by Kalaavathy, a gifted LGBT poet. The poem resonated strongly with our members and allies. It speaks to the battles fought and won, the discrimination faced and overcome and the unity we choose to demonstrate with all of those who continue to deal with prejudice and injustice around the world. We have been delighted by the warm response the video received both internally and across social media.”

One JPN member received a message from a friend saying they had shared the video at their US company, based in Texas, and that it would inspire the firm to be bolder in their approach for Pride 2022.

Quilter also chose to make a video this year. “We have created a video for all our colleagues which looks at why Pride is an important marker for the community and why, regardless of our orientation, we should all celebrate Pride each year,” said Karin Cook, COO at Quilter.

In terms of the impact this video made, Cook shared one comment, which said: “I loved the video – it was really moving – so great to see staff from all across our business getting involved and explaining why this month is so important.”

Cook explained sharing stories is one of the best ways to promote inclusivity. “Research shows that if someone knows somebody who is part of the LGBT+ community, they are much less likely to be homophobic or prejudiced. Every person who speaks up changes hearts and minds and creates new advocates for equality.”

She added: “To help improve visibility we have been sharing the stories of colleagues internally who are part of the LGBT+ community. This included a story from someone who has recently come out as bisexual and another from a colleague who is transgender. The stories serve to highlight the highs and lows of their journeys and helps our colleagues to better understand some of the unseen mental challenges that LGBT+ people face at work and at home. It is not easy sharing these personal anecdotes about your life to the whole company and we commend them for continuing to help educate us all.”

However, despite these efforts, some firms are still not able to share tangible efforts, citing vague awareness-raising activities, for example. Let’s hope the industry continues to move in the right direction when it comes to LGBT+ inclusivity.

Avatar

Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...