The UK’s first speaker agency and network for LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people was launched on September 28 during National Inclusion Week in London.
Co-founded by Polly Shute and Raga D’silva, the OUTSpoken Speakers network is a social enterprise and movement designed to connect and support LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people. The agency’s mission is to create greater voice and visibility for LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people, and challenge existing unhelpful preconceptions and prejudices that stop this community being fully out at work.
Image credit:Dave at GeorgeCreative.uk
Recent research carried out by Deloitte (LGBT+ Inclusion at Work 2023: A Global Outlook) highlighted that 74% of LGBTQ+ women attach a high level of importance to being out at work, compared to 60% of LGBTQ+ men. Yet, the latest research from myGwork on the experiences of LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people, highlighted that less than a quarter of LGBTQ+ women and non-binary professionals are fully out at work. Additional findings from this survey also revealed that:
- 7/10 of LGBTQ+ women and non-binary professionals have experienced discrimination at work.
- 8/10 respondents say it is tougher for LGBTQ+ women and those who are non-binary to shatter glass ceilings.
The agency aims to fulfil its mission thanks to over 40 founding expert LGBTQ+ speakers, across all industries from business to sport and entertainment. Founding speakers include Dame Kelly Holmes; Dame Inga Beale; Lady Phyll; Roxy Bourdillon, Editor of Diva Magazine; Bobbi Pickard, CEO, Trans in the City; Jayne Ozane, Director, Ozane Foundation; Beth Sherman, Emmy-winning comedy writer; Rosie Wilby, comedian, and author of Breakup Monologues; Eva Echo, actor/activist; Marcia Ore; Radhika Piramal, Executive Director & Vice Chairperson of VIP Luggage Limited; actor Seyan Sarvan; as well as the co-founders, Polly Shute and Raga D’silva.
“LGBTQ+ women and those who are non-binary often feel both underrepresented and misunderstood in the workplace and wider society. Our aim is to grow the voice and visibility of this community and ultimately support better understanding and representation,” stated Polly.
OUTSpoken Speakers is founded by Polly Shute (right). Image credit:
OUTSpoken Speakers is founded byRaga D’silva (left) and
Polly Shute (right). Image credit:Dave at GeorgeCreative.uk
Adding to her comments Raga said: “We are more than our sexual orientation and organizations need to look beyond that lens. We are skilled, talented, educated, creative, and so much more and have created space for ourselves and I am focused on ensuring we keep reminding the organizations of this; when they want speakers, trainers, coaches, they will get the best-in-class from our pool of LGBT+ women and those who are non-binary and our supportive allies, who are great story-tellers and experts at their craft.”
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