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, Bisexual and Transgender (LBT) women in the workplace.  The Sapphire initiative seeks to provide women with an opportunity to openly express and discuss some of these challenges in a safe, non-confrontational professional environment.

The initiative seeks to engage Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women (regardless of whether or not they are out at work) who feel passionate about wanting to see a more inclusive workplace, one in which LBT women can freely be themselves at work and one in which there is a greater visibility of  ‘out’ female role models.

While Sapphire will provide members who choose to participate with an opportunity to network, role model and mentor; the core focus of the program is to engage with LBT women across all sectors to fully understand the organisational factors that impact disclosure and inclusivity within organisations active in LGBTI workplace inclusion.   This will not only allow Pride in Diversity to contribute to the growing body of research on the invisibility of LBT women but will also allow us to utilise the collective understanding to promote a more inclusive workplace culture.

KEY OBJECTIVES

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

Sapphire

SAPPHIRE MEMBER PARTICIPATION

You can become a Sapphire member if you identify as Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender women (regardless of whether or not you are out at work) and you belong to a Pride in Diversity member organisation.  Sapphire membership assumes that you have a keen interest in promoting the inclusivity of Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women 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.  Once we have confirmed your Sapphire membership, you will be sent a welcome letter and Sapphire pin to the address of your choice.

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 LBT women (from within any organisation) and their allies.
  • Supporting allies will need to be endorsed by an LBT 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

It is our intention to hold a small number of Sapphire events throughout the year.   Please appreciate however that our funding and resources are limited.  During the early years of Sapphire, 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 Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender women within 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 taped 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 Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women and their allies regardless of whether or not you are from a Pride in Diversity 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 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 women 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 Lin Surch on (02) 9206.2137 or via lin.surch@prideindiversity.com.au

SAPPHIRE AMBASSADORS

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.”


Suzi+Russell+200dpi_0158+3Suzi Russell, Partner, PwC

“I believe that being honest and open about the fact that I am a lesbian has helped me progress in the workplace.  People comment that I am brave and confident because I am happy to share that part of my life with them.  However, I don’t see it as bravery, I see it as easy. If you bring your whole self to work, you don’t have to second guess what you say to people all the time. People open up to you about their own personal circumstances and you form a stronger working bond with people.

I want to be part of an environment where I can meet other lesbians in corporate Australia who feel similarly and where I can encourage others to be open at work.”


SIGN UP FOR SAPPHIRE NEWS

Sapphire is a closed group specifically designed for lesbian, bisexual, transgender women who are employees of Pride in Diversity 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 women@Pride.    This group is convened by Lin Surch, Workplace Education & Relationship Manager of Pride in Diversity.  For  more information contact lin.surch@prideindiversity.com.au or call Lin on 02 9206 2137.

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