IDAHOBIT is a day to recognise and celebrate gender and sexual diversities around the world. It is used as a platform to raise awareness of everyday difficulties, both inside and outside the workplace, experienced by those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
The day falls on the 17th May each year to commemorate the date in 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
This year, 17th May is not only the day that we are celebrating IDAHOBIT, but it also marks the launch of our UK Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Allies programme. The programme will help identify ways that everybody can make BAE Systems a more inclusive place to work. Being LGBT isn’t a taboo subject and we hope that by having visible allies across the company, people will feel they can have more open and meaningful conversations with their colleagues.
The LGBT Allies programme is operated by our UK-wide LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG) known as OutLinkUK. The ERG was formally launched in 2015 and now has around 200 members consisting of both LGBT and non-LGBT employees. The aim of the group is to provide a support network for LGBT employees and to help the business better understand the specific issues they often face in the workplace. OutLinkUK also operates a series of awareness raising events each year such as IDAHOBIT, Manchester Pride and the OutLinkUK conference. These events are open to all employees.
To assess our progress on LGBT inclusion, we take part each year in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. This allows us to independently measure how inclusive we are of our LGBT employees and where we may need to re-focus our efforts. Following the most recent feedback, we are now working on developing specific policies and guidance for supporting transgender employees.
Diversity in our workforce encourages creativity, drives innovation and better equips us to solve our customers’ complex challenges. We are continuously looking to attract, recruit, develop and reward people of the highest calibre. At BAE Systems, employees from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential, develop their careers and feel rewarded for what they do.