by Louise Chernin, President & CEO
| Mar 05, 2018
“I have two word to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.”
Frances McDormand in her acceptance speech for best actress Oscar last night urged more A-list actors to stipulate in their contracts that diversity be reflected across the entire production of a film.
GSBA has believed that equality is good business for over 37 years now. Having a social justice mission has been core to our mission since we were started and long before most of the business community began to think of terms like “corporate social responsibility.” In working to advance economic opportunities for the LGBT community, we believe that it is essential to fight for equity along gender and racial lines. That is why one of our legislative priorities for the last several years has been the repeal or amendment of Initiative 200, which has hampered the ability of the state government to work with certified women- and minority-owned businesses. That is why we fight for the expanding recognition of a business certification for companies that are 51% or more owned and operated by LGBT people. We know that women, minorities, and LGBT people have earn less than average. We know that our communities have been excluded consciously and unconsciously from fully participating in the economy. In fact, this year we have seen fierce attacks against the LGBT community by those who would deny us the ability to adopt, to buy a cake or flowers, or to be employed at all.
We are pleased at the number of small businesses and corporations who understand the value of creating a diverse supply chain. We still have room to grow. While we generally see our local governments as strongly supportive of LGBT rights, there has been a surprising reluctance to acknowledging the economic disparities faced by many in the LGBT community. False stereotypes of the inherent wealth of a community supposedly made up of double-income-no-kids households persist, even at when a lesbian household is still made up of two women, when gay men earn significantly less than straight men, bisexual people face tremendous socioeconomic barriers, and the transgender community has simultaneously some of the highest rates of education and the highest rates of homelessness. Each of these factors is multiplied when combined with any number of intersectional identities, especially including race.
As we continue to fight for a vibrant global economy strengthened though the full participation of diverse local communities, we ask all our members, neighbors, and colleagues to take a look at their own businesses. Are you cultivating a diverse workforce? Do you have a diverse supply chain? Are you helping build equity across our entire community? Do you bring your values with you when you are doing business? Please join us in doubling down on this commitment this year, and taking a conscious look at how we can increase visibility, celebrate diversity, promote inclusiveness, and build future leaders.