A few days ago I received three emails from teachers in different schools, all with various issues. One was trying to push the school to tackle homophobic language and was meeting resistance from senior management; another wrote about not being able to be themselves at work because of derogatory comments about their sexuality; the third told me about the complete absence of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people in their school.
This week is Carers Week and 2015 has been the year of the carer for ATL, and whether we are talking about adult carers or young carers, many of the same issues have been brought to the fore. At all the TUC equalities conferences this year, ATL has raised the profile of carers and the multiple issues they face, often on top of holding down a job.
Being the only openly ‘out’ gay member of staff at school is just the norm for me and my pupils and colleagues these days, aside from the yearly ‘outing’ on arrival of the new year 7 cohort each September! However, it wasn’t always like this.
I’ve never thought of myself as a sister, beyond, of course, being an actual, well, sister. No, I mean a ‘sister’ in the trade union sense. Most of the women I’ve been lucky enough to work with within the movement have been gutsy get-it-done types, battling hard in a male-dominated movement. I must admit that it took me quite a while to get used to being addressed as ‘sister’ during last week’s TUC Women’s Conference, but by the end of the three day conference, I rather liked it. However, there are many sisterhoods to chose from, as we women are a rather diverse lot.
So David Cameron thinks Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) are yet more ‘red tape’? Along with provisions in the Equality Act 2010 that protect education workers and others from third party harassment. Along with the ability to use statutory questionnaires that enable workers to discover whether they are being discriminated against or not receiving equal pay for equal work.