• katja519

Representation matters and makes us thrive

This year Helsinki Pride Week has an inspirational theme as the week is focusing on role models. Why do we need representation and where to look for more relevant information about the topic? Kaisa Seppo will share.

Kaisa Seppo

This year Helsinki Pride Week has an inspirational theme as the week is focusing on role models. Role models refer to the pioneers that lead the way towards change with their own example and story - the ones that were proud of who they were and are and inspired others. When I think in a business context who would be my inspirational icon, openly LGBTIQ+ person and who identifies herself as a woman, the list of people is very short or even nonexistent. In the art, music, culture and sports context it is easier to name powerful female LGBTIQ+ role models but in the business context there is definitely room for more.

McKinsey & Company published in June 2020 findings of an ongoing research Women in the Workplace. According to research LGBTIQ+ women are clearly underrepresented compared to women in general in America’s largest corporations. This leads to a situation where LGBTIQ+ people, especially the scarce women feel isolated from their relatable peers and feel “onlyness”, being the only one of certain gender identity, sexual orientation or race in the team.

Onlyness and being part of a minority leads to more stress, harder pressure to perform, obstacles in career progression and creates more negative employee experience.

(McKinsey & Company 2020)

I haven’t come across similar research made in Finland but I have the feeling that the case might be the same here. LGBTIQ+ people can feel the same “onlyness” in workplaces. But organizations can do a lot to support LGBTIQ+ people and make us feel the psychological safety and trust within the organization. It's also good to remember that all the effort that is put on fostering inclusion and creating a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people, benefits also other marginalized groups in the working life.

From my own personal experience I can clearly state that I am more engaged, more productive, more creative, more energetic and even more fun when I can bring my full self to work every day. Who would not want to work with someone like that?

Find below more information for organizations who thrive to become more inclusive for both sex and gender minorities:

Sateenkaariväki työelämässä ja asiakkaina -tietopaketti (in Finnish)

Stonewall: Creating Inclusive Workplaces

Amnesty USA: LGBTIQ Glossary

United Nations Human Rights: Standards Of Conduct For Business. Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People

Harvard Business Review: Why Many Businesses Are Becoming More Vocal In Support of LGBTQ Rights

Happy Pride! 🌈

Kaisa Seppo

Kaisa is Associate Director, Growth and Strategy at Idean part of Capgemini Invent. Kaisa also acts as a board member in Inklusiiv ry and as a volunteer. LGBTIQ rights and advancing inclusion in organizations are important and special interests to her.