Coinciding with International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May 2018, the South African LGBT+ Management Forum will be launching the first of its kind, South African Workplace Equality Index (SAWEI).
The Forum calls on all South African companies and international companies with a presence in South Africa to participate in the SAWEI. This workplace Equality Index will be the pre-eminent benchmark against which employers in South Africa can measure their levels of LGBT+ inclusiveness.
The concept of a workplace equality index has been implemented internationally and similar benchmarks have made measurable impact on workplaces in Canada, the USA, UK, Hong Kong and Australia. This is the first of its kind in the Africa-Middle East region.
South Africa has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world protecting the rights of LGBT+ people; yet societal discrimination and exclusion still exist. A change in attitudes and acceptance in the workplace not only positively affects business results, but also has the potential to create wider positive societal change. Creating inclusive work environments not only impacts the lives of LGBT+ people in the workplace, but it also helps foster a more diverse and inclusive environment for all employees.
The advisory panel that will be overseeing the process and moderating the results of the 2018 SAWEI comprises Xhanti Payi – an economist and founder of Nascence Advisory and Research and the chairperson of The Other Foundation; Professor Tracy-Lynn Humby from the Wits School of Law, who is focusing on creating an inclusive, environment sustainable and diverse economy; Keval Harie – the director of the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action Trust (GALA) and a qualified attorney dedicated to promoting social justice and human rights across the country; Juan Nel – a registered clinical and research psychologist and a research Professor at Unisa, and founding board member of OUT LGBT Well-Being (OUT), a national health service provider for LGBT+ people.
To support companies in their journey to creating more LGBT+ -inclusive workplaces, the Forum has identified best practice that looks at both policy structures of a company and behavioural elements that embody inclusivity.
Informed by international best practice, with an application to our local context; this is the first publication of its kind. It provides an easy-to-understand, comprehensive framework for companies and can be applied to all forms of diversity and inclusion in South Africa.
The Forum encourages and calls upon all companies who consider inclusion and equality core principles of their values, to support The Forum’s work through getting involved in the SAWEI or becoming a sponsor, both processes move the company’s dial towards embodying our national imperatives articulated in the Constitution and ensuring a diverse, equal and thriving workplace.