Stonewall Top 100 Inclusive Employers Celebration at the Law Society in London – An Alternative View
It was a memorable experience, from entering the building – a grand Grade II listed rather majestic setting, the high ceilings, lavish furniture, beautiful chandeliers, imposing staircase….. with portraits of men, only men all over the walls. Startling!
I was indeed beyond surprised. There we were – over one hundred people from vastly diverse backgrounds, celebrating inclusivity – in this building that I felt completely trapped in. The men staring from the walls were somewhat intimidating. I was amazed that Stonewall hosted their yearly Award Celebration at such a venue. I paused for a second during the speeches to look around and reflect and just didn’t get it. But then it came to me – Stonewall are all about breaking stereotypes and barriers, and in my view, this evening was about exactly that. Just the fact that the Law Society were hosting the event meant that there is a positive way forward from within one of the oldest and most emblematic (created in 1825) societies in the UK, founded by important men.
It was heart-warming that the Law Society hosted the event – the mirrors used by the waiting staff as serving platters were both fascinating and symbolic. Utilising what is known to be used as physical and spiritual reflection to serve food on was like encouraging guests to think about what the evening was about. Was it about people and by people I mean employers, tapping into their humanity to be more accepting and fair to other people (their employees)? Was it about employers being adaptable and flexible and understanding of the human condition? Are people participating in this prestigious index so they feel better about themselves? Or is being in the index a truly selfless deed, thinking that doing the right thing will encourage employees to ‘bring their whole self to work’, without any benefits to the instigator initiating it? Bearing in mind there is no such a thing as a purely selfless deed, or so we are told.
All I can think about following the event is that Stonewall are truly outstanding. What a true dedication to a cause that I think should be embedded within 100% of UK organisations, as well as globally. Inclusivity should not be an option. It is a true privilege to know that the institution I work for is once again in the Top 100 Stonewall inclusive employers. We are small but do we have some punches! York St John University is up there with some big players – companies that we draw inspiration from, and are proud to be in the presence of. The Stonewall Top 100 inclusive employers index is not really a competition – it is a recognition and gratitude to companies that are willing to do the right thing, according to me that is.
I remain in awe of Ruth Hunt and her colleagues and hope next year we get to celebrate our achievements once again! We will work hard – that I know!
P.S. As the Law Society represents 163 000 solicitors in England and Wales, I think it’s about time they put portraits of women along with the men on their walls. I doubt that all 163 000 solicitors are men… In fact I know they are not all men.
Notes from editor: