Bangalore in India will play host to an LGBT Executive Forum on 18 February. The aim of the event, which has been organized by tech giant IBM, is to explore issues around LGBTI diversity and inclusion in the workplace and wider society.
The Forum will take place at the Leela Palace Hotel. Speakers will include DP Singh, Vice President and Head, HR, IBM India/South Asia, while there will be a keynote video address from Randy Berry, the US State Department’s first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons.
Topics to be covered include a look at the current state of LGBTI rights in India, and to what extent corporates are acting to provide a more inclusive workplace.
LGBTI campaigners in the region have been concentrating their efforts in recent months on trying to persuade the country’s Supreme Court to reverse a 2013 decision to re-criminalize same-sex sexual activity.
In a statement to Gay Star Business, Anthony Tenicela, Global Leader, Workforce Diversity and LGBT Markets said: ‘Diversity fosters innovation in the way IBM addresses the needs of our clients and helps the world work better.
‘Given the breadth of IBM’s business across 170 countries, diversity is a competitive differentiator that enables IBM to reflect the global diversity of our customers. We are pleased to sponsor the LGBT Executive Forum in Bangalore in honor of all LGBT professionals in the AP [Asia-Pacific] region.’
IBM has actively been discussing LGBTI rights in the area in recent months. It participated in a similar forum that took place last November in Vietnam and sponsored an LGBT business leadership forum in Bangkok last April.
It made headlines last month in Southeast Asia for extending domestic partner benefits to IBM employees in the Philippines. IBM in the US has been offering domestic partner benefits since 1996, and has consistently scored the top mark of 100 on the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index.
Geetha Prasanna, IBM’s Diversity Engagement Partner, HR, in the region, told Gay Star Business that the company currently offers leave benefits for domestic partners in India and is ‘working on providing medical benefits also.’