Being a woman is a greater barrier to career progression than being gay, research suggests.

Most lesbians are not willing to “out” themselves in the workplace because they already feel at a disadvantage being a woman, the report by Stonewall found.

Michelle Fullerton, the charity’s manager of workplace programmes, told PM that *** and bisexual women faced a “double-glazed glass ceiling” in their career development.

“By and large, the [***] women we interviewed were more concerned that being a woman was a barrier to their success. Being a woman, gay and from an ethnic minority was a triple barrier,” she said.

Even those women who did feel comfortable being “out” at work felt that being a woman was a greater barrier than being gay, she added.

Anna Whowell, founder of CityPink, a networking group for professional gay women, told PM that the “worst obstacle to promotion is to be female”, and because that is impossible to hide “you are not going to come out as well”.

“We have to have more women in senior positions before gay women’s issues can be dealt with,” she said.

Fullerton said the study, based on interviews with diversity specialists and 22 *** and bisexual women, also pointed to a “worrying stereotyping” of women, whereby lesbians can get extra career development from employers that presumed they would not have children.