The Workplace Inclusion Project
In our society, thousands of persons who identify as gender diverse struggle to find jobs and to be accepted at work. In the United States alone, about one third of gender diverse employees experience different forms of microaggression at the workplace (see the report of McKinsey, 2022 and the article in Harvard Business Review, 2020). This is particularly the case for transgender employees, and especially in emerging economies. In countries like Thailand for instance, transgender persons are often rejected before or during the interview process due to their identity. Many are denied promotion opportunities and suffer from verbal and physical abuse at work (see reports of the World Bank, 2018 and Winter et al., 2019).
The objective of this project is to better understand how companies can offer a more inclusive workplace that accounts for the needs of gender diverse persons, and how some gender diverse persons are collaborating with companies to accomplish change for the broader community.
My decision to focus on the inclusion of gender diverse persons at work and to become myself an ally was informed by my life in Thailand between 2020 and 2022, and especially by the personal workplace experiences and stories that many transgender persons decided to share with me.
Although much evidence exists on the stigma that gender diverse persons face in society due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, less is known on their status at work, and in particular on how they can succeed to find jobs, survive at work and manage to get promoted. Building workplace inclusion for gender diverse persons is key to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #5 (Gender equality), #8 (Decent work and economic growth), and #10 (Reduce inequalities).
Although I conducted most of my initial studies (currently under review) in Bangkok, Thailand, I have recently expanded the geographical scope of the project to Dhaka, Bangladesh. In here I have been able to interview more than 50 successful gender diverse persons who have started their own business and that are a real inspiration for change.