We are happy to announce the launch of our new UK cross-government staff network, the Sex Equality and Equity Network.
SEEN is a staff network committed to promoting and supporting sex equality and equity between women and men in our workplaces, and helping all staff to thrive at work and fulfil their potential. The focus of our network is on challenging sex discrimination and upholding rights and protections that relate to sex (including the protections provided to those with the protected characteristics of sex, pregnancy and maternity and sexual orientation, as set out in the Equality Act 2010). We recognise that to achieve this and ensure sex equality and equity sometimes requires treating women and men differently, according to our different rights and needs.
We are also committed to the protected belief (covered by the protected characteristic of religion and belief in the Equality Act 2010) that biological sex is binary and immutable, that biological sex matters for both women and men in our everyday lives, including for our rights and needs in the workplace, and that biological sex must not be conflated with, or replaced by, the concepts of gender or gender identity.
The law requires the rights of people with different protected characteristics and protected beliefs to be balanced in the workplace, and we are committed to helping to achieve that balance. We respect colleagues’ beliefs (including beliefs regarding gender identity) and colleagues’ lack of belief in either gender identity or in the importance of binary sex (because lack of belief is also protected). We want to ensure different protected characteristics and protected beliefs are clearly defined, so that everyone’s rights can be properly understood and protected and appropriately balanced where necessary.
As a part of our mission we want all civil servants to feel safe to exercise their legal rights under the European Convention of Human Rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, provided they manifest their rights lawfully and respectfully and within the Civil Service Code. We wish to encourage a diversity of voices and open and respectful dialogue and tolerance between those with differing beliefs and experiences. SEEN is a secular network and our work will be focused on evidence-based analysis. We are not aligned with any religion or with any external interest group. We are committed to the Civil Service Code’s core values of integrity, honesty, objectivity, and impartiality.
We also aim to be a source of expertise for staff on the protected characteristics of sex, pregnancy and maternity, and sexual orientation, as well as the importance of taking these fully into account to meet staff rights and needs.
SEEN membership is open to UK civil servants and public sector staff - from central and devolved government departments, agencies, and their associated public bodies including arm’s length bodies - who support our mission and share our values. For more detail please see our guidance on who can join.
If you are interested in joining us please see here. If you would like to contact us, learn more about our mission, or be added to our mailing list, please get in touch. See also our FAQ page. And follow us on Twitter @seen_network.