Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet
Search type

Celebrating – and ensuring – inclusivity in our labs

05 Jul 2019

It’s LGBT STEM Day – new report explores climate in the workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bi- and Trans scientists

Rainbow flag

It’s LGBT STEM Day today (Friday, 5 July) – this date chosen because it can be written as ‘507’ which in nanometres is the wavelength of the colour green featured in the rainbow flag and representative of nature. 

The day helps raise awareness and increase support as LGBTQ+ people in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) continue to struggle to openly be themselves.

A new report published last week by the Royal Society of Chemistry, The Institute of Physics (IoP) and the Royal Astronomical Society explored what the workplace is like for Lesbian, Gay, Bi- and Trans (LGBT+) physical scientists.

The report surveyed scientists working in physics, chemistry and related areas across the UK about how LGBT+ inclusive their working environment is.

It found:

  • 28% of LGBT+ respondents stated that they had at some point considered leaving their workplace because of the climate or discrimination towards LGBT+ people.
  • 16% of all respondents had personally experienced harassment or other exclusionary behaviour and 30% of all respondents reported witnessing exclusionary behaviour.
  • Those who described themselves as out to everyone were much more likely to report a comfortable working climate. However the culture of science is one that often leans away from overlap with someone’s personal life, making it difficult for LGBT+ scientists to find occasions to come out or to find other LGBT+ scientists in their workplaces.

The report’s recommendations included:

  • Ways of building a visibly welcoming community
  • Employers reviewing and improving policies
  • Introducing and improving training

Dr Mark Hughes, in our School of Physics and Astronomy and the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lead as well as the chair of the IoP’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, said: “LGBT STEM Day is important not only because all our colleagues should expect and deserve a welcoming workplace, but also because doing our best for science means retaining talented LGBT scientists.

“This report gave us an important insight into how it feels in the lab and how to address any issues.

“Here at Manchester, we’ve been ranked England’s most inclusive university by Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. This is thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of colleagues in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team and all across campus. If you need any guidance or support, visit our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion website.”

More information

Read the report at:

For more information, visit: