Wednesday

30th Sep 2020

Stakeholder

LGBTI activists and businesses fighting inequality together

  • Almost 30% of people who responded to the Fundamental Rights Agency’s detailed online survey in 2012 said that they had hidden the fact that they identified as LGBT at work. (Photo: iStock/Thinkstock)

LGBTI activists and businesses fighting inequality together is a no-brainer.

Workplace diversity is about much more than having an eye-catching policy or a slick website section. The next step in fighting inequality involves seeing businesses as active change-makers.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

This might require a bit of a change of mindset, but it's something that both ILGA-Europe and Workplace Pride have talked about for many years.

Now is the time for this conversation to come to Brussels, and for civil society, multinational corporations and EU institutions to all play a role in creating more inclusive workplaces.

Workplace Pride and ILGA-Europe have long promoted the importance of implementation – whether that is of the laws and policies outlined in the Rainbow Europe Map, or of the equal opportunity policies included in staff handbooks. Getting these things done on paper is not the final step, but the first.

Those of us in employment spend a large chunk of our waking hours at work. Our co-workers can become like a second family, but not everyone's experience is so positive.

On average, just under 30% of the people who responded to the Fundamental Rights Agency's detailed online survey in 2012 said that, at work, they had hidden the fact that they identified as LGBT. 19% of the LGBT respondents said that they had felt discriminated against at work – but these are EU-wide averages, in some member states the figures are much higher.

Why does it matter? Firstly, people perform better when they can be themselves. Rather than worrying that a casual remark might inadvertently 'out' them, individual LGBTI employees will be able to foster a feeling of openness with their colleagues and clients.

And changing the dynamic in social settings like a workplace is key to changing the perspective of society generally. A place of work might not be a perfect cross-section of society, but nevertheless it is a mini-community.

By changing a culture within the four walls of an organisation, you can change many people's lives. This change is within reach for employers – including the EU institutions themselves. When the European Commission or Google speak out about diversity and inclusion, people sit up and take notice.

There has been a growing interaction between civil society organisations and Workplace Pride for several years. So this increased cooperation is an organic process and a natural next step for both Workplace Pride and ILGA-Europe.

When you look at the ever-changing backdrop that European politics is being played out on these days, it's no wonder that both our organisations, our respective members at national level, and corporations are all asking what they can do to react.

Workplace Pride

Increased cooperation is one of the answers - and the Workplace Pride 2017 International Conference in Brussels is the perfect platform to start making these connections.

Under the theme Building Bridges, Workplace Pride's 11th conference offers lots of groups in Brussels a unique opportunity to meet. It gives major corporations and businesses the chance to learn from the experiences of LGBTI activists on the ground in different countries.

The conversations will demonstrate that there are many channels other than legislative that can be leveraged to create real change – a key message for the European institutions who will be in the room. And it gives NGOs insight into the core values of the multinationals, opening up possibilities for continued cooperation after the conference has finished.

To put it bluntly – we can't afford not to work together on this. Multinationals, civil society, and EU institutions all have the ability to be change-makers in society. Business are our new partners and potential allies. And that is why we are inviting you all to join us in Brussels to help us build bridges and create the environment where this change can flourish.

The Workplace Pride 2017 International Conference is open for registration from now until 22 June. The conference itself takes place on 23 June 2017, at the Square – Brussels Meeting Centre.

Author bio

Evelyne Paradis is the executive director of ILGA-Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

David Pollard is the executive director of Workplace Pride, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTI people in workplaces all over the world.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence

This is not about supposedly traditional values – when was violence against women ever a value? – it is about living up to the European values we all signed up to. We have to put pressure on Poland.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court defenestrates Catalan leader
  2. Report: EU helped Taiwan on name dispute
  3. Belarusian writer goes to Germany for treatment
  4. Rapid Covid-19 tests for developing world imminent
  5. Dutch advised against 'non-essential' travel to Belgium
  6. Covid-19 hit Roma community hard, report finds
  7. Merkel visited Navalny in Berlin hospital
  8. EU's new raw materials strategy 'threatens' climate action

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m
  2. Reports: Turkey sent Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan
  3. German presidency tries to end EU's rule-of-law battle
  4. 'Sponsored returns' may shuffle failed asylum seekers around EU
  5. German wins election to be mayor of Romania's third city
  6. Minsk on the edge means whole Eastern Partnership is at risk
  7. Caucasus warfare prompts EU alarm
  8. Summit reloaded and last Brexit round This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us