22-08-19 DI Business News

Remember the colours of the rainbow all year long!

Blog: It's not good enough that almost every tenth LGBT person feel like they can’t be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in their workplace. Therefore, it is important that we remember the colours of the rainbow throughout the year, blogs Mette Fjord Sørensen, Head of Research, Higher Education and Diversity at DI.

Last week, Copenhagen was beaming with celebrations, colours and glitter as Copenhagen Pride took place. It’s one week in August, where the focus is on LGBT people. In life in general—but also at work.

At the beginning of this week, the Ministry of Gender Equality presented a report on LGBT people's well-being at work (in Danish). It shows that a majority of 7 out of 10 of the LGBT respondents who took part in the survey, feel that they can either be open or very open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in their workplace.

That’s great!

The report also shows that 89 percent have not felt discriminated in their workplace.

That’s really great!

But there are also some people who feel like they can’t be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.  In fact, 9 percent feel that they can’t be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in their current workplace to a small extent or at all, and 8 percent have felt discriminated or harassed based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

That’s just not good enough!

Equal rights and equal opportunities are—and must be—a cornerstone of our society.

Copenhagen Pride is therefore an important week.  But more importantly—we should also focus on equal rights and equal opportunities throughout the year.  

Coming out time and again

Many LGBT people experience that there is a notion in workplaces that “all of us” employees are heterosexual and live in a conventional family structure. This can make it difficult for LGBT people to be open about their gender identity or sexual orientation. Therefore, LGBT people often feel they have to "come out" time and again. This affects their well-being.

Heterosexuals also come out "all the time" having conversations about their private lives at work, with photos of their family on their desk.  I don't think about it when I tell you what I’m doing this weekend with my husband and kids.

Because when heterosexuals “come out”, not a lot of people notice it because the majority of the population are heterosexual.  But we should always remind ourselves, throughout the year, that this is not always the case.

Diversity is an advantage

In principle, an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity should not affect their working relationship or their well-being. But in practice, it can mean a lot for the well-being of LGBT people. Therefore, it is important to have a good and inclusive work environment, where all employees feel good regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

There should never be any doubt that an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity would ever hinder their opportunities in an employment situation or work relationship.

All employees should have equal opportunities regardless of gender, skin colour, age, nationality/ethnicity and sexual orientation or gender identity.  We can and we must create space for diversity which can benefit both the company and the individual employee.

Mette Fjord Sørensen

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  • E-mail mfj@di.dk
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