In the past, Companies in India worked towards diversity in the workplace. However, it was mostly geared towards supporting recruitment of women. Since the elimination of Section 377, initiatives around India are having a positive impact on the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community within the corporate world.
Image Courtesy – The Hindu
Swiggy hires it’s first Transgender Employee:
Swiggy, the FoodTech Unicorn in India, is actively working towards supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The organisation recently hired Samyuktha Vijayan, a techie and the organisation’s first transgender employee, as their Principal Technical Program Manager and to support the development of an in-house LGBTQ+ support group.
Vijayan believes that organisations have to expand their activities from playing supporters to actively hiring from the community, and helping for example, transgender candidates who have potential but lack qualification through trainee programs and internships. Hence, the organisation is taking steps towards increasing recruits of LGBTQ+ individuals.
In an interview with Quartz she said,
“……But transgender people have been around for a long time. So, companies need not have waited for the court’s order on section 377 to focus on diversification. But still, it’s better late than never.”
The Foodtech giant is working to making processes and policies more inclusive. They are also trying to bring awareness about the brand’s initiative towards inclusiveness in the workplace. Through a survey, employees of Swiggy are playing an important role. Feedback is being collected on the potential improvements needed to make the organisation’s practices and policies LGBT friendly. The organisation’s diversity and inclusion council is also actively working towards launching its own pride network as part of the initiative.
Image Courtesy – YouTube
Uber Strides for Pride:
On the same front, Uber’s pride community is focusing on on-boarding transgender driver and courier partners, to help them become financial independent. They are working together with the community on legislative challenges and other initiatives to positively shape the future of the LGBTQ+ rights. Uber also participated in India’s first LGBT job fare – ‘RISE’, hosted by Pride Circle.
Image Courtesy – Citi Blog
Citigroup embraces the LGBTQ+:
Citigroup Inc, has joined the bandwagon for the pride movement with its own initiatives. The Financial Corporation has decided to extend its family health insurance coverage plan along with its relocation expenses to all “domestic partners” in India. This means that even the LGBTQ+ couples as well as live-in partners are now eligible.
With over 17,000 employees in India, it will be the first organisation with such an initiate, providing coverage to all domestic partners of its employees.
“Inclusion of all domestic partners in family health insurance coverage is a move towards acknowledging evolving relationship dynamics and aspirations,”
– Saundarya Rajesh founder and director of AVTAR group, as reported by economic times.
Since 2016, Laudco Media has been an active and forthright supporter and, promoter of the LGBTQ+ Community. Through their initiative ‘Fifty Shades Of Gay’, the organisation is thriving towards educating about and, increasing awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. Being the first homegrown digital agency to part-take in pride parades in India, their goal is to end discrimination against the members of this community and, foster a society free of harassment, prejudice, and violence. The FSOG portal is a space to explore and increase your understanding about alternative sexualities, gender identity and expression in an open, non-judgemental environment. In an Interview with Indian Women Blog Shubham Mehrotra, the founder and editor-in chief said,
“FSOG has started a dialogue in the country. People are not shying away from conversations about sexuality and sexual rights. They now realize that LGBT+ rights are essentially human rights and denying any human of those is just unfair and selfish.”
Progress in Corporate India:
Seeing corporates taking such steps towards inclusion shows a positive shift in outlook within the workplace. TimesJob conducted a survey in 2018 to understand the general attitude in the workplace. 57% of its participants had responded negatively towards companies openly recruiting LGBTQ+ and candidates with disabilities. However, in a similar survey conducted by them in May of 2019 showed positive results. 67% of respondents said that their employers were not bothered by their employees’ sexual orientation. This gives reason for LGBT employees to celebrate.
Read More at: India’s First LGBTQ+ Job Fair!
Sanjay Goyal, the business head at TimesJobs said,
“Most progressive organisations treat diversity and inclusion as a focussed actionable agenda. It’s heartening to see that these dedicated efforts are resulting in a positive impact on the workforce,”
-As reported by Quartz.
While organisations taking an active role is good news, there is still a lot more work to do. The same survey conducted by TimesJob this year revealed that 30% of its respondents were aware that their colleagues were being discriminated on grounds of sexual orientation, religious affinities, and ethnic background. This means that organisations have a responsibility towards its employees to increase sensitivity to such issues and discourage such behaviour.
Image Courtesy – The Atlas
Recollecting her personal experience, Vijayan from Swiggy noted that, there is a need for medical coverage from the government and/or companies for employees who want to transition. Having support groups within the workplace will also be of great help to those transitioning. While, introducing informative pamphlets and emails would help the individual and, their colleagues understand and adapt to the transition.
Ratan Lal Kataria, Union minister of state for empowerment and social justice, also suggested that the corporate world must try and promote a more conducive work environment as this would support the government’s agenda to encourage diversity.
Also read: Indian Companies Allying With The LGBTQ+
Source Credit: Business Insider, Deccan Heralds, Economic Times, Times of India, Quartz