Guide to Help Businesses Embrace LGBT+ Equality in Myanmar
As more and more businesses in Myanmar publicly demonstrate their commitment to LGBT+ equality, Colors Rainbow and MCRB launch a new handbook: “LGBT+ EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE: A BILINGUAL RESOURCE FOR EMPLOYERS”.
This guide will help employers in Myanmar avoid discrimination and navigate complex issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) – and their Myanmar vocabulary – to build an inclusive workplace.
Myanmar Business Coalition for Gender Equality (BCGE), with whom Colors Rainbow and MCRB both entered into partnership agreements earlier this year to work on all aspects of equality and inclusion in the workplace, hosted a webinar on 20 May in which Vicky Bowman and Hla Myat of Colors Rainbow discussed the Guide.
Last week, thirty-one companies in Myanmar, both local and international – a 50% increase compared to #IDAHOTMyanmar2019 - celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia which is held annually on 17 May, together with another ten or more organisations. They all flew a rainbow flag from their buildings and/or showed their support on social media and used the #IDAHOTMyanmar2020 Facebook ‘frame’ and hashtag.
Companies who participated included Agarwin Keystone Company Ltd, Amazing Yaya Business Services Company Ltd, Baydar, Beyond Boundaries Myanmar, Capital Diamond Star Group, Clean Plumbing & Sanitary Service, First Myanmar Investment (FMI), Gekko Restaurant, Heineken, Hers Jewel and Handmade, Htoo Group of Companies, Magic Events, Motii, Metro Wholesale, Myanmar Bureau, Nestle, Myanmar Women Self Defense Center, Nexlabs, OnetoWatch, Parami Pizza, Phoenix Group of Companies, Rose Garden Hotel, Sampan Travel, SCM Legal, Shwe Taung Group of Companies, SME Business Institute, Strategy First University, Thiloyarmay, Tour Mandalay, Yever and Zinbrend.
Other organisations who showed their support included The Asia Foundation, local freedom of expression organisation Athan, Europe Aid, the RFA Burmese, the BBC Burmese Service (who did a story dedicated to the day), the BCGE, British Embassy, Dana Facility, International Alert, Institut français de Birmanie, Myanmar Headline, Myanmar Ludu Media, Nordic House, Shwe Myanmar Media, United Nations Offices, US Aid, the US Embassy, We Media and the World Bank
The Handbook builds on MCRB’s 2017 Briefing Paper on Discrimination by Business and in the Workplace in Myanmar, and Colors Rainbow’s 2018 baseline assessments of the situation of LGBT+ people at workplaces in Yangon and Mandalay. In August 2019 MCRB and Colors Rainbow organised a discussion of other ways that businesses could act collectively to support LGBT+ equality in Myanmar, including to change the discriminatory legal framework as has happened in India, as encouraged by the UN’s STANDARDS OF CONDUCT FOR BUSINESS’ (available in EN | MM). These were published in September 2017 by the United Nation’s Human Rights Office’s Free and Equal campaign, to encourage the business community in tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people. They encourage companies at all times to:
In the Workplace
RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS.
In the Marketplace
PREVENT OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
In the Community
ACT IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE
The Standards are consistent with the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to which many Myanmar companies, and foreign companies in Myanmar are committed. Companies can register support for the Standards on the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality website.