20 April 2012
Speaking at the Stonewall Workplace Conference in London today, the Home Secretary Theresa May said businesses could not afford to ignore the £70 billion-strong lesbian, gay and bisexual market, as she set out the 'business case for equality'. Ms May said the government would continue to strive for equality, saying top employers 'know that a company whose workforce better reflects their customers is better able to understand what their customers want and need - and that means greater sales and profits'.
The Stonewall Workplace Conference, supported by Barclays, gave 500 delegates from every sector of Britain’s economy a chance to hear from speakers including the Home Secretary, Sport Wales chair Laura McAllister, and Barclays Managing Director of Diversity and Inclusion Mark McLane.
During her speech Ms May congratulated Ernst & Young for taking the top spot in Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index in January, and said the Home Office would 'throw down the gauntlet' to achieve first place in next year's Index. Summing up, she said: 'I believe everyone in this country has the right to equal opportunities - that is why I believe equality matters. It is our task to end discrimination whenever we find it. That might be through government action, like our proposals for equal marriage. It might be through encouraging role models to stand up and be counted. Or it might be through the action and commitment of each and every employer in this room who is striving to make workplaces better and more inclusive places to be.'
Stonewall Director of Workplace Colleen Humphrey said: ‘Diversity is vital for businesses to succeed, particularly when the economic climate is tough. Britain’s 1.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual staff look for employers who do more than just “tolerate” them. Organisations attending today’s Workplace Conference send a clear message to gay staff and potential recruits that they respect their contribution and talent.’
Due to popular demand, Stonewall will be holding a second Workplace Conference in Manchester on 15 June.Registration is open at www.stonewall.org.uk/wpc2012manchester
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