The majority of High Street banks are members of diversity schemes run by the controversial charity Stonewall, the Telegraph has revealed.
Lenders are facing questions over their links to the charity amid a backlash over closing the bank accounts of some people with gender-critical views.
A vicar who questioned his building society’s Pride branding had his account closed, while a Scottish blogger believes action was taken by his bank over his stance on gender issues.
Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme includes guidance to employers on gender-neutral spaces and the use of pronouns. The company also runs a top 100 index that measures employers on diversity and inclusion.
HSBC, which allows customers to register as gender-neutral, is the top ranking bank in Stonewall’s annual Equality Index, and Natwest, which is still one-third owned by the Government, is linked to the charity.
Barclays, which offers private medical cover for employees transitioning, and Nationwide, which encourages staff to use pronouns in email signatures, are also among Stonewall’s top 100 employers. Santander is a member of the index, while TSB is a member of the Diversity Champions Scheme.
Lloyds Banking Group, which runs its own branches as well as Halifax and Bank of Scotland, was the only major lender to fail to respond to queries about the scheme, but was previously named as the country’s top employer by Stonewall.
Guidance has included describing mothers as a “parent who has given birth”, to remove gendered language and to allow those who self-identify as women to use female toilets and changing rooms.
The Information Commissioner has previously found that the index and the Diversity Champions scheme allowed Stonewall to exercise “a significant degree of influence over the policies that participating members operate”.
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