“Don’t ask, don’t tell” for gay women in the city
Gay women working in the city are three times less likely then gay man to come out, a new survey claims.
The recruitment firm The Blomfield Group conducted the survey, which suggests that although the City of London had improved, it was still a challenging place for gay people to work in, especially gay women.
Many banks are trying to promote diversity in their recruitment programmes, three of Stonewall’s top ten organisations on it’s Corporate Equality Index are investment banks, and industry-wide support networks such as Out in the City, the city Women’s Club and City Pink have certainly helped to make the city more gay-friendly.
However, despite individual bank’s support schemes, largely set up in response to a series of high profile discrimination lawsuits, it seems that women are not comfortable about being frank about their sexuality in the workplace.
Speaking to Reuters, Keith Robinson, the managing director of Origin Pr (part of the Blomfield Group) said; the reluctance of women to come out as lesbians possibly reflects the fact that women already feel they have to fight hard to maintain equality with men,”
Although the Blomfield survey showed that 6.3% of candidates for city roles identified themselves as gay, up from 5.0% the previous year, this percentage represents about 55,000 out of 900,000 people who work in the city.
The survey said that it expected a further 35,000 people working in the city would be gay or lesbian, if the City’s make up was a reflection of the general population of London.
“The City has some way to go,” the survey said, “the extent to which people are ‘out’ in their firms is far smaller than the number who privately acknowledge they are homosexual.”
“I suppose it is a bit surprising” said accountant Peter Stevens. “When I think about it I don’t know anyone at work who is gay, but I have four or five gay friends in my group outside work, from University. So, yeah, it is a bit strange”.
“I think work shouldn’t have anything to do with your sex life,” said Angela Barnes, a corporate lawyer. “Although I guess it always does. It’s impossible to compartmentalise your life like that. It must be hard not being able to talk about your girlfriend and what you did at the weekend on a Monday morning.”
“You and I both know, I’m out outside work” said an actuary who requested that we did not use her name. “It’s different at work. People couldn’t help judging me, and it would be too complicated. Better just not to say anything. It’s like the US army, isn’t it. Don’t ask, don’t tell”.