Corporate South Africa Comes Out with Launch of First LGBT+ Management Forum

  • Created : Oct, 11, 2017
  • Last Updated: Oct, 13, 2017

South Africa's first LGBT+ network to support professionals of all sexual and gender identities in the workplace launched this morning on International Coming Out Day.

Called “The Forum”, The South African LGBT+ Management Forum exists to create an inclusive, safe and equitable workplace environment for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, by working with businesses in South Africa to promote and celebrate diversity in the workplace.

“Every employee, regardless of their ‘otherness’, should be treated fairly,” says Teveshan Kuni, spokesperson for The Forum. “It is now essential that business leaders set standards promoting inclusivity and diversity-based policies on sexual orientation and gender expression.”

Kuni goes on to say that studies have shown that LGBT+ staff in non-supportive environments tend to suffer from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. In addition, recent reports show there is a 15% higher likelihood of above industry average financial performance by companies who have gender diversity and a 17% higher chance that employees who were not out would leave their current employer due to lack of diversity in the workplace.

Continues Kuni, “Last year in Davos, we saw many Fortune 500 companies go public on LGBT+ support with 93% prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and 75% having non-discrimination policies relating to gender identity – so there is a long way to go in South Africa.”

As a way to bridge the divide between what companies are doing internationally and in South Africa, The Forum will focus on three areas:

  • The South African Workplace Equality Index (SAWEI) - an annual benchmark seeking to recognise the most diverse and LGBT+ inclusive companies in South Africa 
  • Proprietary resources and publications designed to support companies in developing more LGBT+-friendly workplaces.
  • Networking opportunities to meet other LGBT+ professionals to build business networks.

“With people spending most of their working day outside of the home, we want to ensure all workplace environments are a safe space for people to be their authentic selves – regardless of their sexual orientation or identity,” concludes Kuni, “and we urge Corporate South Africa to come out and contact us to become more inclusive.”