This week, LGBT issues will for the first time be discussed as part of the official agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The inclusion of LGBT discussions in the official program is a significant milestone, and recognition of the important role LGBT inclusion plays in fostering talent, innovation, and business opportunity.
WEF senior director Fon Mathuros told BBC Capital, “by putting LGBT issues at the forefront of the Davos agenda, we’re sending a message that we’re serious about tackling LGBT rights in the workplace.” Indeed, WEF research has shown, “a clear correlation between countries that have adopted progressive policies towards empowering LGBT people and countries that score highly in terms of economic competitiveness.”
Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Policy at EY and a member of Out Leadership’s Global Advisory Board, will be panelist on both official discussions on the Davos program, as well as at a breakfast event being held in the Microsoft Pavilion. She stressed that LGBT inclusion makes business sense for multinational corporations, and that they are positioned to push for broader equality in the places where they do business. “Multinational companies have enormous economies and employ millions of people, this gives them the ability to influence change on this issue in a unique and powerful way. If the private sector is leading inclusive cultures within the walls of their companies, they can lead the cultural change in society to create a more inclusive society.” A video of Brooke-Marciniak participating in the “Diversity Barriers in Emerging Markets” panel is embedded above.
Brooke-Marciniak’s statements echoed those made by Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. According to Reuters, Biden told a group of executives in Davos, including Airbnb’s Nathan Blecharczykadn and Muhtar Kent from Coca-Cola, “you can change the terms of the debate. You can actually put governments on notice.”