About the South African Workplace Equality Index

What is the South African Workplace Equality Index?

The South African Workplace Equality Index (SAWEI) is the only corporate LGBT inclusion benchmark on the continent. It supports companies in objectively measuring how LGBT+ inclusive their workplaces are against best practice and relative to peers. SAWEI also aims to recognise and celebrate those employers that are leaders in South Africa. 

Why have an index?

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 has the potential to empower LGBT+ people as well as create wider positive change.

Similar benchmarks in other countries have been a powerful way of helping companies benchmark themselves against peers and to identify areas of improvement. SAWEI builds on this success and provides a locally-relevant perspective against global best practice.

Creating inclusive working environments not only impacts the lives of LGBT+ people in the workplace, but it helps foster a more diverse and inclusive environment for all employees. Happier employees make a happier company and a happier society.

Why participate?

We think there are six reasons to take part:

  • You receive an individual report detailing your score
  • You can use your score to assess your organisation's achievements and progress on LGBT+ equality
  • You can identify gaps against best practice that can help in developing your Employment Equity plan and promote diversity in all its forms in your organisation
  • You can compare your company to other organisations and peers
  • You can opt to be completely anonymous or, equally, you can display your rating on your company website to demonstrate your inclusive credentials
  • It is free to participate

To participate, please register your company by contacting our project co-ordinators.


Who else has participated?

In 2019, SAWEI was completed by 27 companies across a range of sectors that employed 144,000 people in South Africa. Gold tiered companies in the past include:

  • Accenture
  • Bain & Company
  • EY
  • Microsoft
  • P&G
  • Shell
  • PWC

A copy of previous SAWEI results can be found on our Resources page


“At Procter & Gamble, we see equal. Everyone valued, everyone included, everyone performing at their peak. Participation in the SAWEI was a necessary step to benchmark our efforts and ensure that we continuously cultivate a workplace environment that allows our employees to bring their full selves to work. It was easy to complete and P&G derived great value from participation.”

Tumelo Masihleho, P&G


“Participating in SAWEI, and receiving our Gold Tier results ,has helped shape the dialogue around LGBT+ inclusion and be seen as a workplace of choice not only by employees but by clients as well.”

Clayton Gordy-Fowlds, EY


“Participating in SAWEI allows your company to obtain an objective view of how far you have come, as well as areas that need work. Each submission it gets easier, because you have a clear understanding of the benchmark which you strive to beat.”

Tracey-Lee Johnson, Deloitte

Register to participate

If you made it this far, then it looks like you want your company to participate. This is great.

To participate in SAWEI, a nominated HR representative or senior leader in your organisation needs to sign up by contacting our project co-ordinators. We will then provide your company with access to our easy to complete online submission page.

The SAWEI is run every two years. In 2021 SAWEI will consist of 17 multiple choice questions, which requires supporting documentation to be submitted via our secure platform for our independent moderators to review. It's a very easy process and we provide all the necessary support that you may need along the way. We anticipate that collecting evidence takes about three to four hours and completing the submission should take about one hour only.

Revised Dates for SAWEI 2021

  • SAWEI 2021 platform goes live: w/c. 26th July 2021
  • New participant information session: w/c. 28th July 2021
  • Platform closes: 17th September 2021 (23h59)
  • Results reports distributed: November 2021 

Advisory Panel Members

Keval Harie

Keval Harie is the Director of the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) archives based at the University of the Witwatersrand. In his role as director, Keval is committed to growing GALA into a centre for research and advocacy for the equality, freedom and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people. Keval is a qualified attorney and completed his articles at Edward Nathan Sonneburgs (ENS Africa)

Tracy-Lynn Humby

Tracy-Lynn Humby is Professor of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand specialising in the environmental and social impacts of mining and climate justice, and currently chairs the board of the Centre for Environmental Rights. Tracy is also a Mining, Sustainability and Diversity Consultant for Young Earth Attorneys, a specialist legal practice focused on creating an inclusive, environmentally sustainable and diverse economy.

Xhanti Payi

Xhanti Payi is economist and founding director of Nascence Advisory and Research, a business providing bespoke research solutions and business advisory and strategy services. Payi has worked as analyst at Investec Wealth & Investment, economist at Stanlib Asset Managers and Country Risk Manager at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking. As a columnist for the Business Day and Business Times, and has contributed articles to international publications like the Financial Times. Xhanti is also currently the chairperson for the Other Foundation.

Juan Nel

Juan is a registered clinical- and research psychologist and a Research Professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa). His expertise is in sexuality and gender - in particular, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) mental health and well-being, as well as in hate crimes and victim empowerment and support is recognised. He is a founding member and served for 16 years on the Board of OUT LGBT Well-Being (OUT), a national health service provider for LGBTI people; a founding member of the Joint Working Group; and a founding member of the Sexuality and Gender Division of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) where he leads a project promoting the well-being and human rights of LGBTI persons in Africa.