In the boardrooms of major corporates across India, the collective commitment to fostering inclusive workplaces is evident. The significance of Pride takes center stage in these discussions, marking a transformative shift over the past decade. What once began as sensitisation sessions and Pride parades has evolved into tangible policy-level actions, deeper engagement with LGBTQ+ talent pools, and the empowerment of trained employee resource groups to drive meaningful change within office spaces.
The journey towards inclusion in the Indian corporate landscape has gained momentum due to global legislations, the power of open conversations on social platforms, and the growing recognition and acceptance of diverse gender and sexual identities within the political realm.
As local laws continue to evolve, aiming to provide equal rights to individuals across the vast gender and sexual spectrum, Indian corporates are now faced with a pivotal question: What lies ahead, and how can we continue to improve?
Inclusivity is more feelings than facts
As the social and political landscape continues to shift, more individuals will find it increasingly comfortable to embrace their true selves and take pride in their identities. Consequently, fostering an inclusive environment within office spaces becomes even more paramount. While policies and awareness sessions are essential components, they alone cannot propel the profound change necessary. Each organisation must empower line managers and rally allies to actively contribute to the creation of an authentically inclusive workplace.
To effectively cultivate an environment where every individual feels valued and respected, genuine listening becomes the cornerstone. It is through this act of listening that we can begin to identify and address micro-aggressions directed at vulnerable individuals. This endeavor must be pursued with intentionality, ensuring the establishment of safe spaces for dialogue. Whether engaging in one-on-one conversations, conducting team huddles to discuss the team's environment, or involving neutral parties to impartially listen, we must foster an atmosphere that promotes open expression without fear of judgment.
Experiences come in various shades
As individuals embrace and assert their identities, it's essential to recognise that each journey is distinct and carries its own significance. By lending an ear to these diverse experiences, we gain valuable insights that shape the trajectory of the corporate workplace and redefine the very essence of inclusion.
In today's globalised landscape, Indian corporates have embraced a more universal framework for LGBTQ+ inclusion. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that local norms and culture significantly influence the acceptance and inclusion of diverse individuals. Advancing the conversation to incorporate these nuanced aspects enables corporates to chart a path forward in inclusion that embraces local cultural dynamics. For instance, sessions that explore the evolution of cultural biases and the preservation of significant historical milestones, or discussion boards that seek to integrate traditions and customs across identities and lifestyle preferences, serve as stepping stones toward creating a blueprint for a truly inclusive future.
Allyship carries an inherent flaw that can inadvertently lead to a savior complex. While it's admirable to have the desire to help, it is equally important to ask individuals if they require support and, if so, in what manner. Being an ally is more about relinquishing the spotlight and allowing those from the community to take the lead.
Alone we can go only so far
Individually, as corporates and teams, we are bound by the limitations of our knowledge and experiences. However, as part of a larger ecosystem, we have access to a wealth of diverse perspectives and resources that can enrich our inclusion journey. Each organisation approaches similar challenges in unique ways, and by bringing these perspectives together, we can propel our collective inclusion efforts to new heights.
Collectively, corporates in India have their hearts in the right place. Now let’s be all ears and listen and learn more every day.