From the Viewsroom

Towards greater inclusivity

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on December 23, 2019 Published on December 23, 2019

More firms now want to be seen as being supportive of diversity

Slowly, it appears, workplaces are changing to reflect the diversity in society. And it was a note from a company that brought home this gentle message of inclusion, at a time when many citizens were consumed with emotional discussions on citizenship and fears of possible exclusions that recently introduced policies could result in.

With an eye on inclusiveness, a note late last week from drug-maker Novartis said that it had brought in a gender neutral insurance benefit plan for its India employees who now had the option to include either a same-sex partner or a live-in partner in the policy. The coverage extended to children adopted through a legal process by such couples or single employees. And the insurance extended for differently-abled children goes beyond the 23-year age cut-off that was in place for other dependent children. Recently, the company introduced a gender neutral parental leave policy of 26 weeks, and this extended to birthing and non-birthing parents in the case of birth, adoption and surrogacy. Similar progressive policies have reportedly been adopted in the Godrej group and, more recently, Tata Steel. Internationally, according to the Corporate Equality Index 2018, “the number of employers offering transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage leapt from 647 last year to 750 this year, including 58 per cent of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses.” From hiring to healthcare, companies want to be seen as being inclusive and supportive of diversity. But there’s much ground to cover. While some firms acknowledge mental health, for instance, others don’t grant parental leave easily for adopted infants.

Universally, inclusive policies in education, health and employment work better than quotas, as the latter accentuates differences among people. With 2020 round the corner, institutions could do well to pursue more inclusive policies to make more people feel like their lives matter.

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Published on December 23, 2019
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