As every year Santiago Iñiguez, the Dean of IE Business School, opened the event reminding us that cultural changes do not happen overnight, it takes time to build a more inclusive society. He congratulated the IEOut Club because they are the architect of the future society.
From a corporative perspective it is important to know which values we are pushing ahead. He regretted that the friendly atmosphere that we can find here… does not exist in many parts of the world, there are intolerant regimes and societies, and we have to help change that.
Margarita Alonso shared latest news about the IEOut Club and LGBT@WORK that have given a further step in their internationalization as it has been chosen as best practices in LGBT inclusion at Out&Equal. She also reminded all of us that next year is the tenth edition and we have to craft the best event ever! And finally she has shared the AET 2015 award with all members of ieOut but very specially with IBM, with all coordinators and with all speakers who have shared knowledge, experience and have become role models showing that the best thing we can do is to be who we are and to be proud of it.
& LGBT MARKETS, IBM: THE ROLE OF DIVERSITY AS STRATEGIC BUSINESS DRIVE
Integration became our law, regardless of race, color or creed. We also believed in the women workforce. And we also were the first company to say that we won ́t discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. It is not just a kind of poster statement: this is what we are. He showed this video:
Furthet to IBM, there are different levels of action:
- Foundational, like compliance with the law
- Awareness, like elimination of barriers
- Strategic, like leveraging a business culture based on diversity. This is where we are at IBM at this stage.
How we foster equal opportunities and diversity, including LGBTI? We implement a “Glocal” approach: Global strategy, Local execution. This allows us to take into account cultures.
We use internal and external media to give visibility to LGBT. We involve marketing and advertising at IBM to address LGBT people and Supporters. We’re very visible.
Every diversity dimension has a council that decides which are the next objectives to advance. Last ones for LGBT where: Global benefit equality; Leadership development; Community vitality; Workplace climate; Growth markets and Business development.
There is also a very strong culture of reaching out with strategic partners globally granting best practices and cutting edge innovation.
Manuel started sharing data: Our legal department handled a huge number of cases of LGBT discrimination at the workplace on the ground of:
- Sexual orientation (236),
- Gender identity (48),
- HIV Status (30)
- As well as cases of LGBT mobbing (61).
The company’s closets are still full. There is a big, talented and scared group of men and women into the closets of their companies. What do they fear?
- LGBT glass ceiling
The University of Pennsylvania made a research on the glass ceiling of people who are LGB or suspected to be LGB: counterfeiters, Integrators, Avoiders (the biggest group).
He presented different examples of harassment including dismissals and showing that in many cases they are provoked by top management but also very often by colleagues.
LGBTphobic prejudices are the main obstacles for real and full integration. This is why companies need to do an internal work. Spanish legal framework is not enough, as it does not protect from peers (focus is usually on managers) nor from isolated cases (as bullying is described as a repeated, hostile, intentional behavior). Discrimination still exists.
Many LGBTI employees renounce to their rights and benefits. This can happen because they don ́t want their company and colleagues to know that they are or will get married to a person of the same gender or sex. This is why companies should proactively promote LGBTI networks and Equality policies.
In the current scenario, in Spain every LGBT employee has to think about his own personal strategy. Therefore, previous legal advisement is always convenient. Reaching for LGBT legal professionals and services is crucial.
When we talk about being trans at school or university we usually think about transsexual students. What about the teachers? When we look at a baby the first thing we try to nderstand is whether it is a she or a he. What if we can ́t tell you the sex and you can ́t transfer your gender expectations on the baby?
Not knowing the sex of a baby is destabilizing… as much as not understanding the gender of a person. When a person has an identifiable sex or gender, is perceived as not human. People thought of them as monsters, because they had fear of them.
But we are not just sexed people, gendered people, LGBT people, we are also other things: we have intersectional identities, we have different interests, different histories and so on. We need trans*pedagogies to change these structures and offer greater freedom in education:
As Alejandra Elenes reminds us, it’s time to go beyond inclusion or assimilation, and go instead at the roots of the problem: social conditions and power relations.
Valentina Flores suggests to avoid prescriptive pedagogies and to rethink your role as a teacher from your own gender identity. This means to think about how your gender identity will affect your discourse either in how it will be perceived by the students, influence the dynamics of your class or set the limits of what you consider acceptable or not to hear: Thinking of us as intersectional beings allows us to challenge the concept of “normal”.
Humor facilitates the learning process by displacing fear of LGBT into curiosity. What makes us a “boy” or a “girl”? Our genitals or our identity? “Queerness” is about looking for something that we fell is still missing, is about rejecting a definition here and now to insist instead on the value of potentiality.
Marta started sharing a touching story about how one LGBT@WORK changed her vision: “I had recently came out at that time. I didn ́t have any lesbian friend. I came here almost forced by my heterosexual friends and I was very scared… but it was very good, because I discovered a new world!” She also realized the misrepresentation of lesbian women.
Marta participated in the first Fitur Gay (LGBT) lesbian panel. This was very important. Many LGBT destinations are really only for gay men. Where are the lesbian destinations?
Then she cofounded Lesworking in 2014. We connect all together in order to be stronger.
We were invited to give several speeches in many countries. We were given visibility and we tried to give visibility to the lesbian community. We received several awards. We came out on the media.
If we have to select one article, is probably this one about the lesbian executives managers who are afraid to come out of the closet but want to come out now.
Being a lesbian woman has plenty of opportunities & challenges. We are the same proportion of population as gay men. There are also many opportunities in the business world lesbians have different needs than gay men and heterosexual women in important industries like culture, travel and leisure and family.
You can view a video presentation of Marta Fernández Herrainz here .
Very often in the file we have in the intranet to present ourselves to the rest of our colleagues we put pictures with our wives and husbands, children, pets etc. What happen if you cannot disclose who really are your beloved ones.
According to a study conducted by Human Rights Campaign, 62% LGBT graduated at university go back into the closet when they start their first job. But we should not be afraid of saying who we are.
P&G is a top company for Reputation & Leadership. Diversity and Inclusion is also in our DNA. Our vision is to be recognized as the Global Leader in Diversity & Inclusion. We are in the top 10 of the Global Diversity ranking, we score 100 at Corporate, and we support ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act. Also, we cofounded the Business Coalition for Global Workplace Fairness by HRC.
Gable was born in the 90 ́s. It is sponsored by Top Management and present at all functions and levels: We promote LGBTI networking and then assess how this impact on employees engagement. We do this by asking people if they can identify themselves according to their sexual identity, gender and sexual orientation and then pose a number of questions regarding engagement and equal opportunities. We can then overlay this survey with another survey we have and detect whether employees feel supported by the company and also whether those in an ERG score higher in engagement.
And the answer is yes. Best Practices worldwide are somehow still hard to implement in Spain. A common counter-argument is that the Spanish legal and social contexts are favorable to LGBTI people, so no action is needed by the company:
Despite the Spanish legal and social framework is perceived as positive or at least as neutral by the Non-LGBTI people, LGBTI employees are still afraid of coming out because they feel they won ́t be respected in the workplace neither as a professional nor as a person: There are at least 3 clear benefits for companies enabling and promoting LGBTI diversity:
3)Know your Human Capital
Coming out is a personal decision and nobody should make this decision under pressure or under fear of coming out. We believe that a way to empower the invisible diversity in our company is by removing the fear of coming out. This can be achieved by giving visibility to Top Management Support.
Where is your company in the pyramids? Is your company supporting LGBTI Employees Networking? Are there HR visible employees? Any top manager is out? You should expect to find some reluctance. It is a matter of normal distribution: in every context there will be reluctance, opposes and people with bias. Just deal with them.
For the same reason (normal distribution) some employees will not see the need to talk of LGBTI issues .on the basis that “we’re always talking about gay people!” A humorous way to address reluctance may be by showing statistics about what topics we search more on the web. There are more researches on google about football, family and kids than homosexuality.
So we’re not always talking about homosexuality. Educate people on diversity and we wouldn’t need to talk about inclusion.
A majority of people think diversity is good, so: are you inclusive or exclusive? … because there is not a medium term.
We thank Roberto Boccardi for the amazing report!