Promoting workplace gender equality and diversity in Vietnam

October 04, 2022 | 18:02
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Cooperation between civil society organisations and enterprises in gender equality, diversity and inclusion is expected to promote gender advancement and create a better working environment for the bisexual, gay and transgender community in Vietnam, according to a recent workshop.

At the seminar “Gender Diversity in the Workplace” by ECUE Vietnam in collaboration with ICS, KPMG, and founding members of the Vietnam Corporate Pride Network organised last week, attendees discussed ways to improve diversity in Vietnam, particularly for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Many studies worldwide and in Vietnam have shown that despite progress, stigma and discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people is still common. According to the University of Chicago, one in three LGBTIQ+ people has experienced discrimination; this rate is higher for transgender people, with three out of five experiencing discrimination.

Le Quang Binh, director of ECUE Vietnam said, “Gay, bisexual and transgender people are stigmatised and discriminated against because the world is being viewed from a gender dualistic framework. Therefore, the community of people of other genders are being discriminated against, even with violence, and not only in the family, school, and workplace. Introducing a gender diversity framework is crucial to eliminate stigma and building a healthier and more productive working environment.

In Vietnam, 30 per cent of LGBTIQ+ people are denied jobs, in which transgender people are discriminated against the most, with 59 per cent being rejected by employers. Nearly 50 per cent have heard negative comments or behaviours from co-workers, according to data released by iSEE in 2015.

Promoting workplace gender equality and diversity in Vietnam

Le Quang Binh, director of ECUE Vietnam and other speakers at the seminar "Gender diversity in the workplace" last weekend

As an organisation of the gay, bisexual and transgender community, ICS has held many activities to raise social awareness about LGBTQ+ people.

Ngo Le Phuong Linh, director of ICS said, “ICS understands that a gender diversity approach can bring about positive, sustainable change not only for gender minorities but also for other majority communities always influenced by social prejudices. In addition to joining hands with founding partners to create Vietnam Corporate Pride Network, ICS also continuously develops consulting activities, training knowledge and skills for partner businesses to help them understand and practice their expectations and policies in the context of Vietnamese culture and society.”

KPMG is one of the leaders in promoting gender diversity in the workplace. KPMG has implemented policies on diversity and inclusion in the working environment since 2015 and is still being maintained not only at the corporate level but also spreading through Vietnam.

Promoting workplace gender equality and diversity in Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hang, director of People, Performance, and Culture at KPMG

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hang, human resources director at KPMG said, “Some of the typical programs we have implemented in Vietnam include the Pride club, gender equality education support, and especially the Vietnam Corporate Pride Network where leading corporations join hands to improve understanding and connect with the LGBTIQ+ community in Vietnam."

“These programmes not only provide benefits that have not been approved before but also create a safe LGBTIQ+ community within the global KPMG network so that people can share and be helped in any country," she said.

As a creative enterprise in communication and advertising, Nguyen Phi Hung, brand director of Reckitt Vietnam, which owns the Durex brand said, “Durex will continue to play a role as a promoter of the strategy 'I do' launched by ICS and iSEE with a strong belief in equal marriage.”

Promoting workplace gender equality and diversity in Vietnam

Nguyen Phi Hung, marketing manager of Reckitt Vietnam, discussed the process of working with ICS, the social, economic and environmental research institute iSEE, VAAC and others to promote education about gender and diversity

Le Quang Binh of ECUE Vietnam said that while Vietnamese companies focused more on gender equality, international corporations were now focused on the specific Diversity, Equity and Inclusion framework. Binh recommended that businesses simultaneously promote gender equality and gender diversity and inclusion to assist in dealing with the consequences of gender duality.

“Internal solutions need to focus on both the cultural constructs creating GE and gender discrimination – combined with gender CSR as learning opportunities for employees,” he said.

The seminar was held as an offshoot of VietPride 2022 week to promote cooperation between social organisations and businesses in promoting gender equality and diversity. The organisers of the seminar hope that businesses operating in Vietnam will follow global trends as respecting gender diversity increasingly becomes the norm.

According to HRC's Diversity Best Practices report 2018, a total of 89 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have policies on diversity and inclusion.

By Thai An

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