WHY SOGIESC DISCUSSIONS MATTER IN THE WORKPLACE
JUNE 21, 2022
Discrimination in the workplace remains a critical issue among members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Some struggle to find jobs that fit, while others experience violence and discrimination in their workplace because of who they are. Companies are beginning to adjust their policies to ensure equal rights among employees, but more efforts are needed to address significant issues that LGBTQIAs deal with.
Having discussions about Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sexual Characteristics (SOGIESC) among employees is vital in creating a culture of inclusion and diversity, which is critical to the success of a business. LGBT phobia rooted in hatred, disgust, fear, or mistrust toward individuals with a SOGIESC that goes against the "norm" can affect work productivity and creativity and deter collaborative efforts.
Many individuals don't know how to approach someone who doesn't conform to heteronormative standards, causing conflicts, confusion, and assumptions that might get in their relationships as coworkers. For instance, if a transgender woman can't use the female bathroom without being accused of perversion, or if a gay guy doesn't feel safe around his homophobic coworkers, how can a company gain the public's trust if it can't build the same trust internally?
Raising awareness through SOGIESC discussion, policies, and sensitivity training will allow a company to expand and be more open to diverse teams and different ideas, thoughts, and concepts that will keep the business thriving and competing with progressive companies.
Encouraging Equality in the Workplace
SOGIESC-inclusive policies are crucial in promoting equal rights and respect in the workplace. According to the 2021 Philippines LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion Survey, of the 100 companies surveyed, 86% have anti-discrimination policies for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The rate significantly increased from what the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce found in their 2018 Corporate SOGIE Diversity & Inclusiveness Index, which shows that only 17% of companies surveyed had SOGIE-inclusive policies. Despite the improvement, companies still have a long way to go to ensure that all employees, including LGBTQIAs, enjoy the same benefits and rights.
Health and WellnessMany employees in same-sex relationships still can't put their long-time partners as beneficiaries of their healthcare policies or life insurance. A significant shift into more inclusive healthcare programs is essential in extending the same benefits to same-sex couples who are, like their heterosexual counterparts, striving to have a better life.
Policies on Restrooms, Names, Pronouns, and UniformsLGBTQIA+ employees should be able to use the restrooms they're comfortable in, the names and pronouns they prefer, and the clothes they want when at work. These issues, when left unaddressed, affect their productivity and quality of well-being. SOGIESC-inclusive policies will help employees be more sensitive and build a work environment conducive to understanding one's needs.
A Culture of InclusionTo build a culture of inclusion, employers and employees should work together to recognize SOGIESC-related issues and address them. A safe space for employees and business leadership that values diversity in identity and sexuality is key to creating an inclusive culture. In addition, being updated on company practices in progressive countries will allow local employers to adapt them to take care of their employees and protect them from discrimination.
This month of Pride highlights the long-running battle that LGBTQIAs face in fighting for equal rights and ending the stigma that locks them in stereotypical boxes. Recruitday was one company taking steps to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Last June 17, 2022, Recruitday held a SOGIESC talk among its employees. The discussion, led by Marketing Specialist Slac Cayamanda, tackled the different colors on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and the meaning of sexual orientation and gender identity. He also discussed ways to create a culture of respect for each other regardless of how they identify, express themselves, and the kind of relationships they want. "The best way to show respect towards others is by asking the right question, 'what is your SOGIESC?' This shows that you want to know them in order to provide them the proper respect they deserve," said Cayamanda.
As part of its social responsibility, Recruitday hopes to become home to employees of all walks of life, background, and gender identity. After all, pride is neither just a feeling nor a celebration of diversity; it is a protest for change. It is to Promote Respect, Inclusion, and Dignity for Everyone.
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JUNE 21, 2022