While the topic of marriage equality may get most of the LGBT rights spotlight and while chants of ‘love is love!’ are practically deafening, many have expressed concern, stating that there are many more pressing matters.
One such matter is the topic of workplace equality. Not only do many countries fail to protect their LGBT worked from workplace discrimination, in many countries around the world it is still very much legal for LGBT workers just to be fired because of their identity.
This is an incredibly scary thought for those having to hide their identities for fear of being fired and something needs to be done. Now, the city of Hong Kong is picking up the mantel, introducing something that they call the ‘LGBT Workplace Index’.
Launched by Community Business, an NGO, the idea of the LGBT Workplace Index is to asses how business fair in terms of LGBT inclusivity. The index takes several factors into consideration including advocacy, diversity structure and if (and how) equal opportunities are offered to everybody.
Hong Kong businesses have until February, 2015 to submit entries and the idea is that following the cut off point, awards will be doled out to companies big and small which have done the most. Some awards include LGBT Network of the year, LGBT Inclusion Champion of the Year, and LGBT Executive Sponsor of the Year which will only be given to those with the highest marks.
The LGBT Workplace Index won’t just praise those who are doing well either, as according to LGBT activist Brian Leung it will also be “a great opportunity for LGBTI professionals and allies to get together to drive LGBTI inclusion forward in Asia”. Meanwhile, Community Business CEO Fern Ngai added that this will help “not only LGBTI, but in general a workplace environment that embraces diversity”.
Hopefully, by reassessing the index every two years, companies will have a chance to improve their score. In a 2011/12 LGBT Climate Study, 71% of LGBT employees said that they weren’t open about their sexualities so hopefully measures like this will allow for a more honest, open and inclusive workplace culture.