Sapphire Initiative

AIM

Sapphire is an initiative of Pride in Diversity that was developed to generate greater awareness of the unique challenges faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) people who identify or may be perceived as women in the workplace. This includes cisgender women, transgender women, and non-binary people who may be perceived as female or feminine (regardless of their gender identities) and therefore may face many of the same challenges. This initiative seeks to engage with and provide this cohort with an opportunity to openly express and discuss some of these challenges in a safe, non-confrontational and professional environment, with the aim of creating a more inclusive workplace – one in which LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people can freely be themselves, and one in which there is a greater visibility of “out” role models.

It is important that workplaces feel inclusive for all people from all backgrounds, and we wish to engage with a wide a range of people as possible, to help us increase our understanding of the multi-faceted aspects of diversity experience within the workplace.

KEY OBJECTIVES

  • Understand and address the dual impacts of being a woman/non-binary person and LGBTQ+ in the workplace (often referred to as the double-glass ceiling).
  • Engage more LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people in workplace inclusion initiatives
  • Increase the visibility of out female and non-binary role models
  • Contribute to the growing body of international research on this topic.

Publication: Cracking the Rainbow Glass Ceiling

Applying an intersectional lens: LGBTQ+ and gender workplace inclusion

2023 Pride in Diversity – Sapphire Initiative

Sapphire is an initiative of Pride in Diversity that was developed to generate greater awareness of the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people who identify or may be perceived as women in the workplace. This includes cisgender women, transgender women, and non-binary people who may be perceived as female or feminine (regardless of their gender identities) in the workplace and therefore may face many of the same challenges.
In 2018, Pride in Diversity and GLEE@PwC partnered and co-authored ‘Where are all the women’ (“WAATW”), the first report of its kind, designed to understand “the lack of same-sex attracted women across LGBTI networks within Australia” and “how organisations might start to address this imbalance”.

Pride in Diversity’s Sapphire initiative has continued to build upon the initial research through analysis of the AWEI employee survey data received each year. Through this data we are able to drill down into the experiences of different populations within the LGBTQ+ umbrella. As a result, we have broadened the scope of the initiative.

To collect data for this research, PID looked at quantitative and qualitative data inputs from the AWEI employee survey, alongside a series of focus groups conducted with PID member organisations. Additionally, PID has partnered with University of Queensland to develop a series of academic case studies based on key themes affecting this cohort.

Click image to download a copy of this publication.

 

SAPPHIRE MEMBER PARTICIPATION

You can become a Sapphire member if you identify as an LGBTQ+ woman or non-binary person who may be perceived as female or feminine (regardless of whether or not you are out at work).  Sapphire membership assumes that you have a keen interest in promoting the inclusivity of LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people within the workplace and would like to actively engage with the Sapphire initiative where possible.  To become a Sapphire member, simply sign up for the mailing list, select how you identify (confidential) and provide a work email address to validate Pride in Diversity membership.

You will receive an email on signing up as a Sapphire member to confirm your intent.

Sapphire members will from time to time, be invited to participate in closed events.  These may be for the purposes of group discussion, to participate in research or for smaller more intimate networking amongst peers.  Participation in research and/or closed focus groups and discussions will always be optional.  You may opt out or change your mailing list preferences at any times.

Sapphire Ambassadors are also considered members, regardless of whether or not they belong to a member organisation.

GENERAL SAPPHIRE PARTICIPATION

  • The Sapphire mailing list is open to LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people who may be perceived as female or feminine (from within any organisation) and their allies.
  • Supporting allies will need to be endorsed by an LGBTQ+ person already on the list.  (As you can appreciate, confidentiality is important and this will ensure that the list is only open to those who strongly support the initiative and who are supporting a person participating in the network).
  • Those who identify as an Ally, along with those who have supplied personal or non-member email addresses will receive copies of the Sapphire newsletter along with invitations to open and semi-public events.

EVENT FOCUS

We hold a number of Sapphire events nationally throughout the year.   Please appreciate, however, that our funding and resources are limited, so events will be limited.

These events will fall into one or more of the following categories.

  • SAPPHIRE MEMBERS ONLY: Closed Focus/Discussion Groups – online or in person to discuss some of the challenges faced and explore some of the barriers to disclosure and full inclusion at work.  To create a safe place for honest discussion and disclosure, these events will be open to LBGTQ+ women and non-binary people who may be perceived as female or feminine, within Pride Inclusion Programs member organisations only.
  • SAPPHIRE MEMBERS AND THEIR ALLIES:  Networking Events – open to Sapphire members from Pride in Diversity member organisations and their allies.  An opportunity to network and hear from some of our inspirational role models and/or Sapphire Ambassadors.  Where possible, and where we have permission, speakers will be recorded so that they can be shared across the Sapphire network.  These events will be promoted to a discreet audience, open to Sapphire members and a supporting guest/ally.
  • SEMI-PUBLIC EVENTS – open to LGTBQ+ women and non-binary people and their allies regardless of whether or not you are from a Pride Inclusion Programs member organisation.
  • OPEN EVENTS – open to everybody.  Advertised widely.

THE ROLE OF THE SAPPHIRE AMBASSADOR

Sapphire Ambassadors are not employed by Pride in Diversity nor do they represent Pride in Diversity or the Sapphire initiative as a whole.  Sapphire Ambassadors have been selected by Pride in Diversity as inspirational role models across a variety of sectors and professions.  Sapphire Ambassadors are successful out women or non-binary people who are able to encourage and inspire us and who believe enough in this initiative to give of their time and energy where they are able, to share their experiences, challenges and lessons learned.  Sapphire Ambassadors are the out role models that we always wish we had and who are so desperately needed by so many young LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people entering the workforce for the first time, unsure of whether or not they can be themselves at work.

MORE INFORMATION?
For more information on the Sapphire initiative, please contact Jessica Mayers on (02) 9206 2141/jmayers@acon.org.au, and/or Nicki Elkin on (02) 9206 2194/nelkin@acon.org.au.

SAPPHIRE AMBASSADOR

christine+smallChristine Forster, Liberal Councillor, City of Sydney

 “I am honoured to be an ambassador for the Sapphire program, under the umbrella of Pride in Diversity. I have always believed that the only way to make lasting changes to the values, culture and practices of organisations is from within, and that’s what the Sapphire program aims to do. It is designed to support women to feel they can be themselves in the workplace, empowering them to reach their full potential, for both their own and their employers’ enduring benefit.

I look forward to contributing to the Sapphire program to help ensure that more women are able to express themselves, without reservation and in the belief that they will be accepted, respected and rewarded for the contribution they make in their working lives.”

 


SIGN UP FOR SAPPHIRE NEWS

Sapphire is a closed group specifically designed for LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people who may be perceived as female or feminine, who are employees of Pride Inclusion Programs member organisations regardless of whether or not they are out at work. This group is confidential and can only be accessed by the convenor of this group.

Click here to sign up to our Sapphire newsletter, keeping you up to date with the development of Sapphire.  This group is convened by Nicki Elkin and Jessica Mayers, Relationship Managers at Pride in Diversity.  For  more information contact Jessica Mayers on (02) 9206 2141/jmayers@acon.org.au, and/or Nicki Elkin on (02) 9206 2194/nelkin@acon.org.au.

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