Multi-national corporations could and should, but often don’t, help improve the lives of LGBT people in countries with anti-LGBT laws, according to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation.
In a press release, the organization stated:
Study Maps Challenges and Opportunities for Pro-LGBT Companies Operating in Anti-LGBT Markets
Study shows multi-national corporations how to promote LGBT equality and strengthen growth
Fifty-eight percent of LGBT employees at multi-national corporations (MNCs) say their company has a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation and transgender identity. However, LGBT-supportive MNCs struggle to extend that protection beyond their walls in anti-LGBT jurisdictions, given that seventy-five countries still criminalize same-sex sexual conduct.
The Center for Talent Innovation’s 10-market study (including Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, and the US), “Out in the World: Securing LGBT Rights in the Global Marketplace,” shows LGBT-supportive MNCs how to foster an inclusive and safe environment for employees both on and off corporate campuses in anti-LGBT geographies.
Co-authored by legal scholar Kenji Yoshino and CTI Founder and President Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the study of 1,964 LGBT professionals and 10,242 non-LGBT professionals maps the world into three categories:
- Countries with LGBT-hostile laws (India, Russia, and Singapore);
- Geographies with LGBT-unfriendly laws (China, Hong Kong, and Turkey); and
- Countries with LGBT-friendly laws (Brazil, South Africa, the UK, and the US).
The report highlights ways in which MNCs operating in LGBT-unfriendly and hostile jurisdictions might move markets and mores toward greater LGBT equality.
Tactics fall within three models of engagement:
- The “When in Rome” model, in which companies adhere to the norms and local laws of the jurisdiction, but allow employees to opt-out of placement there.
- The “Embassy” model, in which companies enforce pro-LGBT policies in the workplace but do not seek to effect change outside their walls.
- The “Advocate” model, in which companies seek to change cultural attitudes outside the workplace.
The study reveals talent and consumer market pressures for advancing global LGBT equality. A pro-LGBT stance improves a company’s ability to recruit talent and attract consumers, even outside of the LGBT pool: 72 percent of respondents who self-identify as LGBT allies say they are more likely to accept a job at a company that supports equal opportunities for LGBT employees. Eighty-two percent of ally respondents and 71 percent of LGBT individuals say they are more likely to purchase a good or service from a company that supports LGBT equality.
LGBT employee engagement is higher, too: 84 percent of LGBT employees at supportive companies say they are proud to work for their employer (compared to 68 percent at unsupportive companies).
The center also stated:
Many LGBT employees remain in the closet at work, especially in anti-LGBT societies: “Fully 80 percent in Russia; 78 percent in Hong Kong; 61 percent in Brazil; and 46 percent in the US remain closeted in their professional lives. And of those who are out, many – fully 75 percent in China, 65 percent in Singapore, and 49 percent in Brazil – cover, or downplay, their LGBT identity.”
Some companies advocate for recognition of the human rights of LGBT people: “The report showcases initiatives from MNCs including American Express and Ernst & Young LLP that are supporting and advocating for LGBT employees and their rights worldwide.”
For more information:
- Read a Diversity Inc. article about the report.
- Read the full press release.
- Purchase the report ($20 for an electronic version, $25 for a printed version)