Including all Gender Identities at Work - Business in the Community

Including all Gender Identities at Work

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Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Equality Campaign Director and Anisha Doshi, Senior Inclusion Advisor, Business in the Community (BITC), on ensuring gender identity is no barrier in the workplace.

Fostering a working environment where employees can be their true selves is something many organisations strive to do. But employers can struggle, considering both their policies and wider culture. This can span from managing poor behaviour – numerous reports warn of workplace discrimination and exclusion, to ensuring workplace benefits, for example healthcare and carers’ leave and considering different groups needs are genuinely accessible.

Ensuring everyone at work feels included

November, a month featuring Transgender Awareness Week, Transgender Remembrance Day and Equal Pay Day is an apt time to apply a gender lens to the inclusion agenda, including transgender, non-binary and other minority gender groups. The UN is one body warning ‘gender minority status is strongly associated with discrimination and marginalisation’ in society at large;  these groups are also more likely to feel excluded at work.McKinsey research has found, for example, that trans men and women ‘feel far less supported in the workplace than their cisgender colleagues do…find it harder to get promoted… and less supported by their managers.’ This has myriad consequences, including on individual economic security: while the gender pay gap regime in the UK doesn’t capture gaps in pay for all genders, it’s been estimated that in the US the transgender pay gap may be as high as 32 per cent.

At Business in the Community (BITC) we recognise and embrace the powerful role employers can play in ensuring everyone at work feels included, treated with respect and welcomed for their whole selves. This must include championing inclusion for everyone, regardless of gender identity. Our advisory and campaign work seeks to shine a light on the proactive efforts employers can and should take to ensure gender identity is no barrier to thriving at work and beyond; this includes probing for truly intersectional efforts that go beyond policies to consider culture in our annual Times Top 50 Employer for Gender Equality Awards.

Through our employer network, we reach and influence the work and life chances of more than seven million people in the UK every year, and core to this is our drive to foster a more equitable inclusive working world and wider community.

Next steps

We know that organisations are at very different stages on their journey to proactive trans inclusion. Our recent Peer Learning Forum on wellbeing of trans and gender minorities in UK workplaces, clearly demonstrated that it is important to take the time to understand the experiences of trans people in your organisation through focus groups, employee resource groups and data collection, before deciding what interventions to implement. This will create the most impact and you will have an evidence-based understanding of what is required.

An action plan should be developed depending on the unique needs of your organisation, which sits within your wider inclusion strategy. Some of the common interventions include: developing trans inclusion policies and transitioning at work guidance; employing gender-neutral / gender-inclusive language in all policies and comms; providing access to gender-affirming healthcare; providing access to adequate mental health support, and providing training for all employees and line managers.

Is it crucial to measure the impact of these initiatives, put monitoring processes in place and pivot accordingly depending on feedback. BITC research has also shown the power of inter-group dialogue in fostering inclusive workplaces; creating spaces where people from different groups can meaningfully come together and learn about one another is a proven way of bolstering diversity and inclusion efforts.  

Finally, this may be a slow journey. However, taking trans inclusion step-by-step will ensure you are driving change properly and sensitively. If you’re interested in upskilling employees, we have our trans inclusion training workshop that will help participants understand how to build a more inclusive workplace for trans colleagues. We can also provide bespoke support and our Everyday Inclusion campaign also includes guidance on proven steps to influence culture.