UNDP joins hands with the Australian and Canadian Embassies, the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection and the World Bank to reinforce their support for the private sector in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion of LGBTI people
May 18, 2023
(Bangkok, Thailand) To mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) 2023, UNDP in partnership with the Australian Embassy, the Canadian Embassy, the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection of the Ministry of Justice, and the World Bank hosted a conference to highlight the important role the private sector plays in recognizing and addressing stigma and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, and in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace.
The ‘business case’ for inclusion is strong. Discrimination may not always be explicit, but it remains entrenched in some work settings. Studies by UNDP have shown that transgender people face discrimination in the recruitment process, from having CVs rejected to being asked invasive questions during interviews. Many LGBTI persons report hiding who they are at work for fear of facing discrimination, affecting the contributions they can make to teams and ultimately opportunities for career development. A strong and growing segment of the private sector, however, has recognized and highlighted the competitive advantage in placing greater focus on inclusive approaches to human resources. The acknowledged benefits of inclusive workplaces include attracting investment, increasing brand value, and boosting employee and customer attraction and retention. Inclusion upholds the rights of individuals and is better for business, which is why governments, businesses, and communities have a shared interest in promoting more systematic and effective workplace inclusion in order to harness the many strengths of diverse LGBTI colleagues and community members.
The event on May 18 brought together representatives from government agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, UN agencies and the diplomatic community in Bangkok. Discussions at the conference centred around what companies in Thailand are doing, and what more they can do to advance LGBTI inclusion at work.
“Employers – across both the public and private sector – play a critical role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and ensuring that LGBTQI+ employees feel respected and valued, and are empowered to bring their whole selves to work.” said H.E. Angela Macdonald, Ambassador of Australia to Thailand
“Canada is committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights, including the rights of LGBTI+ persons. We are very appreciative of our collaboration with the UNDP and public and private sector partners in Thailand on the important issue of LGBTI+ inclusion in the workplace. This constructive dialogue, and the initiative and dynamism of the private sector and LGBTI+ stakeholders, has tremendous potential to stand out as a shining example – in Thailand and across the wider Indo-Pacific region – of how to broaden the benefits of inclusive hiring and employment, for the betterment of companies, communities and individuals alike,” said H.E. Dr. Sarah Taylor, Ambassador of Canada to Thailand
“The Rights and Liberties Protection Department has been working vigorously to promote LGBTQIs inclusion in the workplace through our supportive network and the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP). One step forward is better than nothing. We hope that private sectors will continue and start to walk with us and become our alliances to lift up the level of LGBTQIs rights as well as promoting inclusion in their workplaces” said Kerdchoke Kasamwongjit, the Deputy Director General of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice.
"UNDP is pleased to be organizing the conference with our four partners who are strong champions on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion for LGBTI people in the workplace. Promoting human rights and social inclusion of vulnerable populations is at the core of the UNDP mandate. Thailand has much potential to be a regional leader in the area of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and UNDP is committed to working closely with the private sector in this area to ensure no one is left behind on the road to sustainable development." said Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative of UNDP in Thailand
“As we celebrate the progress today we also recognize that there is still significant work to be done in creating a world free from discrimination and exclusion, where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can contribute fully to their communities and economies. We highly appreciate the partnership of the government, civil society, and development partners in advancing this vision, and the World Bank is committed to working together towards its realization. LGBTI inclusion is not merely a matter of social justice but also a critical economic imperative, crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and our twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.” said Fabrizio Zarcone, the World Bank Country Manager for Thailand.
In line with this year’s IDAHOBIT theme “Together always: united in diversity”, the co-organizing partners of the conference are encouraging the private sector to step up their role in promoting more inclusive and sustainable workplaces for LGBTI people.
Read Press Release in Thai, here.
For further information or questions, please contact:
Suparnee (Jay) Pongruengphant
Project Manager – Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, UNDP Thailand
Noppawan (Sue) Anavil
Political and Public Affairs Officer, Embassy of Canada to Thailand
External Affairs Officer, World Bank
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