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Royal Navy a Top 10 Employer in Equality Index

19 January 2016
The Royal Navy – which includes the Royal Marines – has leapt up the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index for 2016 and is now regarded as a Top 10 employer.

Sixteen years after the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel openly serving in the Armed Forces was lifted, the Royal Navy is clearly demonstrating its commitment to diversity and inclusion across the organisation.

The Stonewall Workplace Index is a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces and this year attracted the highest number of entries since the Index launched in 2005.

The Royal Navy has previously been placed at 67th and last year rose to 56th but this year the Senior Service has rocketed to 10th place.

It’s a ringing endorsement of our efforts, led by our Diversity Champions, to ensure we remain one of the most attractive employers in the UK. It also just goes to show that if you’re good enough, it doesn’t matter who you are: anyone can succeed in the Royal Navy.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas

Commander Chris New, Head of the Navy’s Diversity and Inclusion team, said: “The Royal Navy is delighted to be in the Top 10 for the first time.  One of our top priorities is to be a good, diverse and inclusive employer of personnel from all sections of UK society. 

“We will continue, however, to improve our culture, training and collaboration with diversity partners in order to maintain the progress made in recent years.”

Stonewall's Index explores ten areas of employment policy and practice including employee policy, training, career development, monitoring and community engagement.

To supplement evidence submitted by employers, Stonewall also seeks feedback directly from entrants' staff.   

Ruth Hunt, the Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: “The Royal Navy and all of those employers that secured a place in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2016 list performed fantastically this year. We have had more submissions than ever before and so making the list is a huge achievement.

“I’d like to thank all of those organisations for their continued efforts to ensure that their lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work and are accepted without exception.”

Until 1994 homosexuality in the Armed Forces was a criminal offence – but after a legal challenge in 1992 it was decriminalised although policy dictated that homosexuality was incompatible with Service life. Personnel found to be gay were still discharged.

In 1998 a group of four ex-Service personnel who had been discharged on the grounds of their sexuality took their case to the European Court of Human Rights causing an urgent review of policy. Two years later the then Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon announced that the ban was lifted.

Since then the Royal Navy hosted the first LGBT conference, marched in uniform in London Pride and has become one of Stonewall's Diversity Champions – all closely followed by the Army and RAF.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “I’m so proud that the Royal Navy has been ranked in the top ten of Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index. 

"It’s a ringing endorsement of our efforts, led by our Diversity Champions, to ensure we remain one of the most attractive employers in the UK. It also just goes to show that if you’re good enough, it doesn’t matter who you are: anyone can succeed in the Royal Navy. 

“Diversity is also about being the best Navy in the world. The Royal Navy’s strength rests on our men and women, in all their glorious diversity. Their skill, their determination, their ability to think and fight, determines our success.”

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