This weekend over 260 people from 23 construction firms including Mott MacDonald, Kier, Lendlease, WSP and Skanska will represent #BuildingEquality at Pride in London, under the theme of ‘Pride Matters’. Alongside new member companies including Costain, Mace, Ramboll and Willmott Dixon Interiors, members will come together to march along with a rainbow JCB provided by Flannery Plant to help increase awareness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) employees working in the construction industry.
Many members have launched LGBT+ networks to foster inclusion in their own companies and over the next 12 months #BuildingEquality will focus on continuing to drive change, not just through main contractors but also through the supply chain. This aims to encourage an open and tolerant environment, proven to reduce stress and anxiety amongst the LGBT+ community, allowing people’s talents to flourish.
Construction News recently conducted a survey of 1,045 people in the construction industry and found that over half (56%) of LGBT+ respondents aren’t comfortable being open about their sexuality or gender, while a third (28%) have had an offensive or inappropriate comment made about their gender or sexuality in the workplace over the past year. These results show that there is a long way to go before the construction industry can be considered a truly diverse and inclusive workplace for its LGBT+ employees and why the work of #BuildingEquality and its members is vitally important.
Richard Chapman-Harris, Mott MacDonald’s Group equality, diversity and inclusion manager, said: “I am proud to see our staff marching in Pride in London once again and I know of many more attending Pride events across the UK. This is down to the efforts of our Advancing LGBT+ employee network and the support from family, friends and colleagues at all levels of the business. Pride is an opportunity to raise the visibility of LGBT+ role models and show the diversity within our communities so everyone feels included.”
2018 marks a symbolic year for the LGBT+ community. It has been 30 years since Section 28 was introduced by Margaret Thatcher, banning local authorities from promoting homosexuality and 15 years since it was repealed across the UK. However, since the millennium we have seen a more positive outlook on legal rights for employees who recognise themselves as part of the LGBT+ community. In 2010 the Equality Act became law in the UK, making it illegal to discriminate against LGBT+ people in the workplace.