For the first time in India, the country’s ‘Workplace Equality Index’ has been rolled out for employers to check their progress on inclusion of people from LGBT+ communities at the workplaces. This workplace index was introduced on Thursday and is considered as the first “comprehensive bench-marking tool for employers,” according to a report by The IE. The index has virtually announced winners from among 65 companies who had shared their data on their employee diversity as well as inclusion practices.
It is to note that the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) has been introduced two years after the apex court read down Section 377 in 2018. The IWEI has been brought as the reference for Indian industries by hotelier-activist Keshav Suri via his non-profit Keshav Suri Foundation. Suri has partnered with FICCI, Stonewall UK and Pride Circle for this. The index has been brought after covering nine major areas that are employee lifecycle, policies and benefits, allies and role models, employee network group, monitoring, senior leadership, community engagement, procurement and additional work.
As per the data, there were 21 firms that won under the gold category whereas other 18 firms were placed under the silver category with 13 firms under the bronze category. Back in 2018, under Chief Justice Dipak Misra the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was termed as it criminalised consensual unnatural sex as indefensible, irrational and manifestly arbitrary. Prior to this, due to Section 377 the LGBTQ members had been living in hiding (or were forced to) and were considered as second class citizens with no rights of enjoying their sexual orientation. The judgement was much welcomed by youth across the country.
While fundamental rights (which people from LGBTQ community did not enjoy) have been granted by the apex court, a report by PTI noted that even after two years, people are still battling for acceptance in society.