Manila equality HRC General ElectricIn one of a series of State Department-facilitated dialogues, Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program, joined Tricia Reville, financial reporting analyst and LGBT Employee Resource Group member at General Electric, for a virtual dialogue with corporate contacts and LGBT advocates from Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

Not even the half-day time difference could temper the enthusiasm for the work of LGBT inclusion.

The discussion helped to enforce what we know businesses are already doing: taking LGBT equality global. In fact, in the 2016 Corporate Equality Index survey and report, businesses will be graded on the global consistency of their LGBT-inclusive workplace protections. The Workplace Equality Program has expanded its portfolio of work on global LGBT workplace inclusion in part by connecting with advocates like those in Manila, on the ground who can give insight and feedback as the CEI changes are rolled out. 

General Electric’s engagement in the dialogue was a great example for international participants of how internal advocacy can change workplace culture, as the company has moved from a respectable Corporate Equality Index score of 75 in 2012, to a top rating of 100 percent in 2013. This score jump reflects the groundswell of support the ERG found from allies within the company.

GE’s rise on the CEI spoke to significant updates to their benefits, from ensuring retirement benefits for same-sex couples to transgender inclusive health care coverage. Along the way, GE’s top leadership supported these efforts and that support translated to an historic gathering in Atlanta last fall of hundreds of LGBT and allied GE employees from around the globe for a summit on inclusion. Foundation Directors, Ty Cobb and Deena Fidas addressed audiences at this conference on our new global engagement programs.

As the sun was setting in Washington, D.C., our new friends and colleagues were beginning their day in the Philippines with a new level of outreach and support for their LGBT advocacy.

Filed under: International, Workplace

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