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At Enfo, you are embraced as your true self – living up to the dream
June was the month of Pride, also at Enfo.
By selecting to have a Pride month we acknowledge sexual and gender minorities and give them (and all of us) a dedicated forum to bring this topic into the agenda.
The LGBT+ theme of course should not only be limited to this one month rather than the full year, but it gives us a great opportunity to work on the topics with all of us. We want to develop Enfo into a workplace where everyone can be open about themselves and also have the majority members as allies to LGBT+ members.
Accidental exclusiveness occurs when we are not intentionally inclusive
The number of people belonging to these groups is not small – even though we talk about minorities, it's estimated that about 10% of our population is LGBT+. That is 550 000 people in Finland and 1 035 000 in Sweden! Still in Finland, only 8% of LGBT+ people say they can be totally open about themselves at work. This is one of the lowest figures in Europe. In Sweden, the number is 23%. Other way round, 18% in Sweden and 27% in Finland hide completely being LGBT+ at work. *
We do not necessarily believe this is because of direct discrimination or other big threats but we may all be guilty of microaggression which means intentional or unintentional everyday actions that can be seen as hostile or negative insults. It is very much possible that when we are not intentionally being inclusive, we are accidentally being exclusive.
Talking about LGBT+ is not talking about sex
Another issue is the oversexualization of LGBT+. It is common to hear comments like " why do we talk about sex at work" when talking about sexual or gender identities at work. Heterosexuality is seen as social information, whereas LGBT+ are reduced to sexual partners and sexuality. We should instead realize LGBT+ people talk about their life, family, and free time in an exactly similar way as anyone else. Try to talk about your life to someone without mentioning your partner's name or gender and see how difficult it is.
Our solution to this is to learn to talk about sexual and gender minorities, to include and normalize it, and to make sure our work environment, tools, and processes can handle and are inclusive to all these options.
That is why we have a dedicated Pride month. It is not saying we have major problems at Enfo – it is saying that we acknowledge different sexual and gender minorities, and we want to consciously work on to raise awareness of LGBT+ people, give you words to talk about it, and improve Enfo as a workplace where it is safe to be who you are.
Intentional inclusivity starts with you
As it is about walking the line, I would like to challenge everybody to share your own personal Diversity & Inclusion statement that you will foster and cherish at your own workplace. Mine is here:
I’d like to say that your person or professionality doesn’t depend on your sexual orientation or gender. No matter what kind of family you have, who you love or how you feel inside, I respect and value you as a colleague.#Inclusiveworklife
The writer is Manager in our Business Services area and our Diversity and Inclusion LGBT+ Focus Area Lead.
* Data source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) EU-LGBTI II survey (2019)
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