‘Time for greater workplace inclusivity’

 – Gudstory

‘Time for greater workplace inclusivity’ – Gudstory

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Mumbai: The Supreme Court has refused to approve gay marriages and said it is for Parliament to decide on bringing such laws, but India’s leading advocates and advisors on diversity say it is now time for corporates to do more. The time has come to emphasize on policies. To ensure inclusivity in every policy regardless of one’s sexual orientation.

“Today’s decision makes clear that gay people have rights. While the judiciary said that it is not capable of passing laws recognizing same-sex marriage, therefore, the responsibility lies not just with the government but also with India Inc.” Lawyer Karuna Nandy said, ”There is a lot that India Inc. Inc. This can be done to ensure that the rights of same-sex partners and families are recognised, that those who work hard and serve the frontline are valued as much as people of any sexuality,” They said.

Consultants working on gender diversity and inclusivity in workplaces said that although the decision was disappointing, corporates need to become more inclusive for their image.

Pallavi Pareek, CEO of consultancy firm Ungender and diversity, equity and inclusivity consultant, listed the reasoning behind the need to remain “unwavering” towards equality.

“An inclusive corporate environment has been proven time and again to attract top talent, who prefer workplaces that support equal rights. As Indian enterprises aim to make their mark on the global stage, embracing diversity is not only a moral imperative but also a business one.”

According to consultants, if a company moves up on the DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) chart, its branding improves. “Importantly, when the business world remains steadfast in its commitment to inclusivity, it has the power to influence societal attitudes and drive policy change over time. Therefore, regardless of the decision, it is important for corporate India to continue its push for greater inclusivity, understanding the far-reaching strategic benefits it can bring,” Pareek said.

Over the past few years, corporates dealing with a multi-generational workforce have been trying to offer equal leave and insurance policies for all genders, whether it’s for adoption or gender surgery. Sensitization programs are conducted in factories and corporates to make the workplace more gender neutral.

Nirmala Menon, founder of Interwave Consulting, said the decision should have been more supportive, adding that corporates can now more than ever rally for the rights of different genders.

But some advisers have highlighted the practical issues if there are any changes. “The decision leaves the responsibility to Parliament to set guidelines and this is status quo for India Inc. But if the decision had legalized gay marriage, all companies would have been forced to change their insurance and benefits policies. At present, it is not mandatory,” said Kanav Narayan Sehgal, who works at the Vidhi Center for Legal Policy.

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Updated: October 17, 2023, 11:52 PM IST


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