Work allies vital in an uncertain world.

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Denise Charlton at Cork Pride Diversity and Inclusion Conference

The impact of Covid-19, the rise of the right and threats to the LGBTI+ community worldwide has made the need for allies and inclusion policies in the workplace more important than ever, according to Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland.

Speaking ahead of a special virtual Diversity and Inclusion Conference ‘Pride at Work’ at Cork Pride, Denise says without concrete policies in place LGBTI+ people could feel isolated, alone and fearful.

The Chief Executive is to tell attendees that truly inclusive workplaces have pride all the time and not just to coincide with local celebrations.

Denise Charlton, who will be addressing the issue of Allies at Work, added:

“There are many studies which show how much time each of us spend at work, whether physically or virtually.

40 hours a week, for 48 weeks a year during a working life of 37 years. That is 71,040 hours or 2,960 days which is the equivalent of working 24-hours a day every day for more than eight years.

This is why it is so important that the virtual and physical environment, discussions and socialising which goes on around work are welcoming, safe and inclusive.

Yet four years ago an international study of 60-countries entitled ‘LGBT Allies: The Power of Friends’, found that 57% of employees would be too scared to speak up if they heard homophobic banter at work.

This needs to be addressed in a number of ways.

·       Companies should not just meet the minimum legal requirements to prevent harassment or bullying but introduce their own with a fair, clear and transparent complaints procedure.

·       Leaders of companies should seek out opportunities  to deliver speeches on inclusion in front of employees, at conferences or public events such as Summer Schools. Such endorsements are much more powerful that a workplace self-declaring itself as ‘gay friendly’.

·       Having a Diversity Officer in the team ensures opportunities and space for LGBTI+ people and their allies to meet and show support for each other.

THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR IRELAND

Charities, community and voluntary groups who receive grants from the Foundation share a vision of equality for all in thriving communities.

Recently in Cork we partnered with TENI and the Cork Counselling Centre last year to fund the production of an information guide for councellors and psychotherapists to provide appropriate supports for Transgender people.

It was a success and the result is a resource to combat transphobia, stigma and discrimination.

BE AN ALLY

We are stepping up our efforts with a special LGBTI+ Fund where donors can in a very tangible and real way become an ally.

The very fact that Cork Pride is going ahead is a testament that difficult times bring out the best in people.

These are the moments which keep hopes and spirits high, they also show the impact the partnerships, alliances and links which form through donations, gift giving and legacies can have on communities and on lives.

One of the best ways for any workplace to show its an ally is to join such a partnership which can deliver tangible results for our community. At The Community Foundation for Ireland we are always ready to speak to any individual, organisation or company which wants to become involved.”

END