The Indian LGBT+ community has had a long fight for being recognised in this country and by its society.
Even still, their fight doesn’t seem to be ending soon with the rate of acceptance still low and people being prejudiced in their judgements towards those who recognise themselves as part of the LGBT+ community.
The community did get a massive win when in September 2018, the Supreme Court of India passed the historic judgment of abolishing Section 377, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality in the country.
Now for the first time, LGBT+ members could be free to be their true selves and not fear any actual legal action being taken against them.
The introduction of the ‘India Workplace Equality Index’ (IWEI) is only another step in the right direction since now, one can see how accepting the corporate sector of India really is.
What Is This Workplace Equality Index?
Coming almost 2 years after the Indian Supreme Court abolished Section 377, the ‘India Workplace Equality Index’ has just been launched.
This is reportedly the first such index in India that will list detailed benchmarks that companies can measure themselves on to see how inclusive they are of the LGBT+ community.
The first list was announced on Thursday through a virtual mode that had 65 companies listed within it. These companies had shared data on their diversity and inclusion practices and that allowed the index to calculate where they stand.
The IWEI has been brought to India by hotelier-activist Keshav Suri’s non-profit Keshav Suri Foundation, along with Pride Circle, an LGBT+ inclusion consultancy, Stonewall UK, a British LGBT+ advocacy group and FICCI.
As per reports, the index measures companies on these nine factors:
- Policies and benefits,
- Employee lifecycle,
- Employee network group,
- Allies and role models,
- Senior leadership,
- Community engagement and
- Additional work
From the 65 that were competing, 21 companies won in the gold category while 18 firms came under silver and the remaining 13 won the bronze category.
Out of these, interestingly, two local Indian firms, Godrej Group and Hindustan Unilever, actually managed to win gold in the index.
This is something since the rest of the gold winners are all international firms that include known names like Accenture and Microsoft.
Many of those who won gold in this index have inclusive policies like health insurance for same-sex couples, bathrooms being gender-neutral and more.
Even Tata Steel of India managed to win the silver award in the IWEI, being one of the four Indian companies to get it in this category.
They were appreciated for changing the term “paternity leave” to “newborn parent leave” in their firm and further offering it to same-sex, trans and single male parents.
The Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Dilip Chenoy, even commented on how more domestic companies should take part in this index next year as it will help to “move the needle towards diversity and inclusion”.
He even stated that “We need to make acceptable work environments where all employees feel respected, valued and involved irrespective of who they are.”
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