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Workplace equality – is your diversity policy up to it?

Recent UK figures show that 37 of FTSE 100 companies now have 25% or more female directors and that overall, the number of women directors doubled in the five years up to 2015, taking it to 23%.

These statistics reflect an encouraging improvement in gender diversity on UK boards since the introduction of the Equality Act in 2010. However, they also show just how far companies in general have to go to attain anything like true workplace equality for the sexes.

But equality in the workplace isn't just about gender. One way that companies, small and large, can move towards this goal is the implementation of a diversity policy. Having a good policy in place improves workforce quality, fosters mutual respect among employees, can improve a business's reputation, and reduces staff turnover.

Underpinning the approach to this aspect of corporate governance is The Equality Act 2010, which became law in October 2010 and replaced existing anti-discrimination laws, covering ‘protected characteristics’. So when you're getting your policy together or just trying to understand more about what's involved, you'll have a wide-range to cover. Areas you'll need to consider:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity.

How do you start to understand the issues? Well, we've created an Equality and Diversity page that pulls together relevant resources on the topic, including links to legislation, guidance, organisations and reports that you can read online. We've also saved you time by suggesting relevant articles and books which we can supply as part of our free library service to members. All of which can help to inform your diversity policy.

Don't put off addressing this important part of your business and corporate governance. Get started by looking at our first steps support: