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Pride at Red Ant - A conversation with Digital Marketing Executive, George

Red Ant wants to create a truly inclusive workplace for everyone. As we near the end of Pride Month, we spoke with our digital marketing executive, George, to find out his opinion on how well Red Ant is creating an inclusive work environment for the LGBT+ community.

Red Ant believes it is our responsibility to ensure that every one of our team and the communities around us are all treated equally, which is why we routinely review the steps we have taken to improve how we work as a truly inclusive and diverse company.

We believe that diversity and equality make for a better business model as it encourages new ways of thinking and offers insight into specific retail challenges. For that reason, we like to regularly check in with our Ants to find out if we are succeeding in creating a work environment to be proud of.

As we near the end of Pride Month, we arranged a chance to talk with our digital marketing executive, George, to discuss how well he believes Red Ant is creating an inclusive work environment.

Hi George, thanks for agreeing to share your views with us today.

Hi, thanks for asking. As a gay man, it is obviously a very important subject for me to discuss and talking about it during Pride month is also a great honour.

Of course. With that in mind, would you mind giving us some insight into what it is like being gay and working at Red Ant?

Sure! Firstly, I feel very lucky to say that I can be my true self in the office. Having worked in jobs before where you were encouraged to act a certain way or avoid mentioning your sexuality for fear of being treated differently, it feels so liberating that everyone at Red Ant is so welcoming and accepting of everyone else. I think Red Ant has done a great job in providing a safe space where gender and sexuality can be discussed openly and honestly without fear of discrimination.

Additionally, I feel proud that as a company and as individuals, we have donated to several LGBTQ+ charities to promote equality and inclusivity, including Mermaids and Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, which has a dedicated LGBTQIA+ help hub. Working for a company and beside colleagues that actively care about the communities around them, makes me feel proud, both, of my sexuality and of the work that I do.

We are glad to hear that. Did you know that our most recent 2022 Great Place to Work Survey revealed that 100% of Ants agreed that they are treated fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation? Can you provide more insight into why you think that is?

I believe that a big reason for this is that Red Ant sees every Ant as an individual and that everyone is encouraged to respect other employees’ and clients’ pronouns, sexualities, and genders. It might seem simple, but it is surprising how comforting it is to work at a place that holds such importance on how we treat one another. I also think understanding that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression is so important to equality, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. I am proud to say that I have seen the company do their best in supporting people on an individual level and know that if I needed help, I would be treated fairly, without prejudice or judgement.

The existence of Red Ant’s employee committee is also a big part of why I believe that 100% of Ants said that they are treated fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation. Knowing that there are a group of people who actively meet to discuss any suggestions or concerns that the team may have, makes me feel like my opinion matters especially when I have given LGBTQ+ related recommendations which have been actively listened to such as adding the option of pronouns to our emails.

In 2018, a study conducted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology discovered that 1/3 of LGBTQ+ people were less likely to pursue a career in tech because of the fear of being discriminated against for their sexuality or gender identity. What do you think about this?

I can wholeheartedly agree with this. I think it is because tech has, for a long time, been associated as a male-dominated heteronormative space. Whenever you think of an area which is seen as dominated by a specific group, those who don’t fit within the rules tend to feel unwelcome even if they shouldn’t do.

It embarrasses me to say but, when I first applied for jobs within the STEM field, I was very aware that coming across as queer might have a large impact on the number of job offers I would receive, and I am sure in some instances it might have too. However, I believe you must be true to yourself or you could end up working for a company that isn’t the right fit for you or them.

I think Red Ant’s wish to see more females enter the tech field holds a special place within me, for this reason. The mission to change the public view of the tech industry by making it a much more welcoming and inclusive sector for all is a valuable one. I believe Red Ant is doing a great job in proving this, especially from an LGBTQ+ perspective.

It is amazing to see so many LGBTQ+ people throughout the company within different job sectors and all levels. I hope that by seeing people of all sexualities and genders working at Red Ant, we will provide role models for the future generation to show that you can succeed in the retail tech industry regardless of gender, sexuality or race. 

That’s a really great wish! Is there anything else you want to mention?

Yes please, as it is Pride month, I want to emphasise that it is important that we celebrate LGBTQ+ in technology. I think we often forget the people behind the tech that have and continue to improve life for everyone. People like Alan Turing, Claudia Brind-Woody and Tim Cook should all be viewed as powerful LGBTQ+ leaders but we mustn't forget to celebrate those in the background, from QA testers to full-stack engineers.Just because they are away from the spotlight, does not mean they aren't important too.

Tech workers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community should be proud of breaking the stigma whether they are out or not. To quote Tim Cook, Apple CEO – “I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me”.

Sarah Friswell, Red Ant CEO
Sarah Friswell, Red Ant CEO, 21st June 2022
Pride at Red Ant - A conversation with George

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