Stonewall is accused of “eroding” gender pay gap monitoring among civil servants following the emergence of new diversity training.
The LGBT charity marks hundreds of public sector employers each year by diversity credentials in exchange for a league table ranking in the Workplace Equity Index (WEI), the UK’s largest benchmarking program of this kind.
Proudly celebrating Stonewall’s rankings on its ‘top 100 employers’ list, six government agencies, NHS England, six regional NHS agencies and four police forces were among the 400 employers featured last year.
But The Telegraph learned that Stonewall urges employers to monitor inequalities in their organizations by self-identified gender rather than gender.
On Saturday, women’s rights activists denounced the incident as “shocking” and “disturbing”.
The gender pay gap is an official measure of equality that shows the average earnings gap between men and women. Employers with more than 250 employees are legally required to publish the gender pay gap annually.
‘What is your gender?’ five options for
According to the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap in the UK is almost 15 percent. This has fallen from 27.5 percent since 1997, but among full-time workers it’s 8.3 percent from seven percent between 2020 and 2022. e rose.
However, in formal training, Stonewall offers employers the “What best describes your gender?” for their internal human resources systems and diversity tracking forms. He recommends that it’s “best practice” to add five options for the question.
According to the online video session “WEI Support Series – Monitoring equity data to support your work” these five choices should be male, non-binary, female, “I use another term” or “I prefer not to say it”.
Stonewall staff who led the session told administrators that the question “must explicitly include non-binary identities” and that no points will be awarded on the WEI application form unless there is an open-ended box for unrestricted gender identities.
The tutorial, seen by The Telegraph, then asks “whether the organization collects data on employee gender, including non-binary identities,” and doesn’t recommend any gender-based tracking.
‘Inclusive’ pay gap analysis
In his advice to answer this on the WEI application form, the Stonewall trainer told employers: “We wouldn’t give awards. [marks] if you’re asking about gender instead of gender.”
If systems were to separate trans women who are naturally male from “cis” women, that would be a “danger sign” and Stonewall would “have to immediately escalate this and note that this happened because it is immediately harmful,” the staff member said.
The Stonewall trainer also explained that bosses “need to analyze the distribution of staff across different salary grades and levels within the organization.” [in] gender identity that explicitly encompasses non-binary identities, non-binary genders, as well as trans status”.
They added: “So not just analyze the gender pay gap, but actually expand it to include trans and non-binary identities.”
Stonewall on Saturday said it did not propose open-ended answers for reporting legal gender to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which must be male or female.
Critics attack ’embarrassing’ Stonewall
However, campaigners said the Stonewall WEI support thread “What is your gender?” He feared that it would encourage five-part answers to the question and that the failure of organizations to offer any gender-based monitoring within themselves would undermine strong-sex pay gap monitoring.
Maya Forstater, executive director of Sex Matters, a campaign group that advocates for bisexual data, said: “How can employers monitor gender discrimination if they have to pretend they don’t know what gender is?
“Forcing employees to fill out these forms forces them to declare that they are part of a belief system that they do not believe in. Organizations that follow this recommendation are not inclusive at all. Shocking and disturbing.”
Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, who founded the Women2Win campaign to support Conservative female MPs in public office, said: “Gender pay gap monitoring has always been a lifeline for women’s equality in the workplace and is based on clear definitions – women are adults, people, women and gender binary. and is immutable.
“It’s a disgrace that Stonewall was given free pass to erode women’s equality naked inside Whitehall.”
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, former vice-president of the Conservative Party, said it was a “harmful and insidious violation of women’s rights”.
‘Concerns based on misunderstanding’
A Stonewall spokesperson said: “These concerns appear to be based on misunderstandings about the nature and purpose of the guidance we provide in collecting employee data.
To be clear: Stonewall strongly supports gender pay gap reporting. We do not advocate shelving this, and there is nothing in our guidance to prevent organizations from understanding the pay gaps between cis women and cis men.
“Overall, gender pay gap data is derived from the HMRC requirement that organizations must report the legal gender of their employees for payroll purposes.
“Our guide recommends additional ways organizations can collect employee data to get a complete picture of whether LGBTQ+ workers are successful in the workplace. This is an important study as our research shows that gay, lesbian, bi and transgender workers still face significant discrimination, exclusion and barriers at work.”
The training was part of the 2020-21 WEI support video series for public sector organizations.
Several major organizations, including Ofsted, the BBC and the Cabinet Office, left Stonewall’s separate diversity champions program last year for fears it would erode the notion of biological sex with gender spectra.