Diversity – Inclusion of LGBTQ+ in tech and its future.
TheCodeWork Team | 16 June 2021
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NO! We are NOT going to talk about a list of successful LGBTQ+ business tycoons here. A lot of that information is already there on the internet. We are here to address the future of the LGBTQ+ community in tech and how it’s gradually evolving in the right direction. Read up!
June is the month that screams of celebrations. What kind of celebrations am I talking about? Well, I am talking about the commemorations of developments in civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual as well as transgender (LGBT) groups and communities.
As we all know, technology has integrated social and public life in numerous ways. I am sure you agree with me on this. Consequently, its impact on LGBTQ+ rights has also been significant. This includes the producers and consumers of social media, the tech workforce as well as the advocacy on LGBTQ+ policy concerns at the global level. Now that’s really huge, don’t you think?
So in a situation like this, how can one not talk about the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the tech sector and where this stands in the future? Worry not, TheCodeWork is here with these questions and answers that you probably always thought of!
As estimated, there are around 10 million American adults who identify as a part of this community. This may be less than 5 percent of their population, I agree. But global surveys specify that the tech hubs of the US, like Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta boast LGBTQ+ populations. And guess what? This is around twice or thrice the calculated national average.
Talking of the LGBTQ+ community, getting acceptance in the straight man’s world has been a struggle since ever. It also overloads their efforts to make it in tech and business. As a result, it is important for us, as people of the straight man’s world, to discuss more acceptance.
So today, we will talk about diversity and inclusion in the tech industry in honor of pride month. Let’s see where we stand in the 21st century when it comes to being progressive and not just in the way we live, but also in our mindsets.
Follow up, this is going to be pretty insightful and may even end up being an eye-opener.
The power of Social media in the quest for LGBTQ+ acceptance
Growth in technology in addition to the social integration of the LGBTQ+ community has co-evolved. And trust me when I say this, it has repeatedly resulted in mutual benefit. To add to this co-evolution, social media has altered the public attitudes toward homosexuals and transgender in the most positive way that could ever be. It has led to an increasing acceptance rate over the last 10 to 15 years. How great is that?
You can never deny the role that social media has been playing in generating public awareness for good. Their stand on homophobia has made a lot of individuals stand up for themselves, understand their own rights and come out of the closet.
For example, Facebook and YouTube have popularized a whole lot of “coming out videos”. This in turn has helped some individuals be happy with who they are, like on their own terms, and most importantly, realize that there’s nothing “wrong” in their being.
Social media acts as a global platform for LGBTQ+ individuals. It helps them to reach out to one another as well as meet up under safer conditions and be a part of their own community.
Also, for better or worse, having and supporting diversity in the workplace has also added to the marketing aspect of brands. All this, for social media and that’s totally cool I guess!
Diversity in tech and mutual benefit
For companies, an overall inclusive workplace increases the hiring pool when it comes to tech. That’s obvious, right? And guess what! It also results in job satisfaction as well as employee retention in terms of productivity. You would want that for your business, right?
LGBTQ+ friendly guidelines provide a company with advanced firm value in addition to profitability. How about that? Also, did you know? The turnover is pretty costly. For instance, a recent study by the Kapor Institute says that “unfairness-based turnover costs the tech industry $16B per year.” Imagine!!
So why not?
What is the tech industry doing for more inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community?
The tech industry has struggled, fought, and also at major times absolutely failed when it came to constructing an inclusive workspace. It is no secret there! Not just tech, in fact, all industries struggle when it comes to equal representation of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ community.
But truth be told, things are changing. Or evolving rather!
Here’s a tiny example:
Brands like Facebook and Slack, have already started including data on their LGBTQ+ employees in the diversity registers. How is this helpful? Well, it’s a subtle way of showing acceptance and cordial acknowledgment in the workplace.
Tech businesses have conventionally responded to the inclusion of diversity in the industry. They are doing so, by publishing annual workplace data. In addition to that, they are also restating assurances to refining equality at the workplace. Sounds good?
Well, they are on a mission to certify equal/civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ community is an essential segment of American society. However, bias, bigotry, as well as discrimination, can result in a dangerous and unproductive work atmosphere for LGBTQ+ people. So this one is a major step that needs immediate action.
Guidelines that strive to protect against any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity are vital. They are the most important aspects to build an equitable workplace. You agree with me, don’t you?
Bailey (the Director of Human Rights Campaign) says, “They have to apply to employees, they have to apply to vendors and contractors, and they have to apply to customers and clients.”
2. Employee benefits
Employee benefits are the sector where the LGBTQ+ community frequently faces unequal behavior. These employee benefits are not always accessible in equal; form, for LGBTQ+ individuals. Hence, the CEI is building on this in the quest to provide an equitable workplace for the LGBTQ+ community.
“There are a lot of areas of family formation where we want to make sure that LGBTQ people have equal access and support,” says Bailey.
3. Internal practices as well as external engagement
This highly includes education and training, employee networks, performance evaluation, resource forums, and much more. How cool is this initiative to work on? I know right!
Now let’s look into something pretty crucial at this point. How are the institutions of higher education doing when it comes to supporting students as a part of inclusion and diversity?
Numerous schools with popular engineering programs are among the top LGBTQ+ friendly educational institutes.
Various online portals recommend Georgia Tech and Smith, UC Berkeley for their brilliance in cultures of inclusion and diversity.
For institutions and establishments, if you want to be more inclusive, you can start with the following:
Collect information. Add reporting based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Review employee benefits, practices, policies, and performance reviews. Modify binary gender identity tick boxes on corporate forms and applications.
Enhance the workplace culture by building clear commitment value of the establishment to diversity and inclusion.
Support LGBTQ+ affinity forums and communities, work on the visibility of the LGBTQ+ tech leadership and workforce.
For educational institutes, provide funds, space, as well as staff support for LGBTQ+ programs besides other added diversity efforts.
Positive Equity Trends in the Tech Sector
We can’t deny the fact, that there has been a surge in equity training and programming, with the world shifting to the virtual space. Don’t you think? As a result, in many ways, the tech companies reached more people with their programming and education events than ever before.
Also, the huge level of data collection has enabled us to keep a better tap on the ongoing circumstances. “Over the last decade, there is incredible progress in the adoption of transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage,” says Bailey.
A large number of global non-profit organizations, like Out in Tech, LGBTQ Tech, Lesbians Who Tech, and many more, have gotten together to promote LGBTQ+ in the tech industry. How cool is that?
Out in Tech brings together around 30,000 LGBTQ+ members via workshops, networking opportunities, and conferences. All this, at a global level! They also deliver scholarships to learn coding in addition to funding programs that help young people get into IT.
Lesbians Who Tech is a global community for Queer Women that thrive in the tech industry. Their aim is to get more queer women and lesbians in the tech sector and set them as inspirations for the other people in the community to follow.
LGBTQ tech aims to promote LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. they also offer great opportunities for networking in the professional domain. Not just that! They help tech companies to embed diversity inclusion in a better manner.
Advantages of inclusion in the workplace
It is pretty evident that diversity in the workplace helps companies be more influential, innovative as well as profitable.
Rolls Royce says that their diversity-inclusive work environment yields better productivity. It also certifies a lesser amount of mental health issues as well. How great is that?
Microsoft has always been one of the most popular supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. Their popular affinity group by the name – GLEAMrecruits LGBTQ+ individuals to a great extent in the company itself. Sounds awesome!
A study says that it would be hugely beneficial for businesses and corporations to support a culture where LGBTQ+ individuals feel comfortable and at ease.
So get going people! Support one another and keep growing.
The light at the end of the tunnel
As we can see, the world is changing is so is their conservative attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community. Talking of the tech industry, this evolution demands a lot of change regarding company policies and rights. However, the process has already begun!
Project Include, which is a non-profit organization that serves as a reserve for individuals to implement change regarding diversity and inclusion related to the tech industry. How cool is that? The project focuses on early-stage startups, helping them with their guidelines and policies to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The project has already witnessed some startups striving to change the traditional outlook. Consequently, people highly expect the new generation of entrepreneurs to be more inclusive when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t you think?
Wrapping it up, this month is a suitable moment to identify and acknowledge the tech industry’s part in the struggle for inclusion. They have already included legal developments concerning the right to marriage as well as employee benefits for same-sex couples.
They have also broken the institutional walls concerning transgender employees and students. And last but not the least, they have also called out the various discriminatory legislation and practices. Brave, I know!
We will keep working for a situation that values every life and identity. As they say, we are in this together!
Also, if you happen to be an entrepreneur yourself, do reach out to us at @thecodework. We work with early-stage startups and help them build anMVP model to validate their awesome business ideas.
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