Survey Report on LGBTI Diversity and Inclusion in Corporation in China published with support of United Nations Development Programme
Published: May 17, 2021 04:58 PM
One experience-sharing session in a company Photo: Courtesy of the Beijing LGBT Center

One experience-sharing session in a company Photo: Courtesy of the Beijing LGBT Center

The Survey Report on LGBTI Diversity and Inclusion in Corporation in China was published in Beijing on Sunday. The survey, conducted with the support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aims to investigate how various corporations in China are treating the LGBTQ+ community and what dilemmas this community faces in workplaces.

UNDP representative James Yang addressed media at a press conference on the results of the survey at the Topwin Center in Beijing on Sunday, the 20th anniversary of China expelling LGBTQ from its list of mental disorders and a day before 2021 International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. 

The report, which collected questionnaires from more than 3,400 employees and 122 companies, pointed out that China's corporations have made progress on LGBTQ+ issues, but that many problems still remain. 

One major issue is that anti-discrimination programs have not been widely established in workplaces.

The report said that only 13.9 percent of the companies surveyed have official rules covering anti-discrimination and equal opportunities while 4.9 percent of the companies said they are still drawing up relevant rules.

Thirteen of 17 companies have clear regulations banning gender discrimination at the workplace, while eight have rules against bias and unequal treatment due to sexual orientation.

The report points out another problem: Corporations have not attached enough importance to the welfare of LGBTQ+ employees. Only 14.8 percent of the 122 corporations surveyed allow employees to take family leave for their same-sex partners while 4.1 percent of the companies said they are still planning policies for LGBTQ+ people.

Facilities that can provide more convenience to LGBTQ+ people such as toilets for non-binary people or the third gender are still not common in workplaces. Only 5.7 percent of the 122 companies have established special toilets.

Wu Lijuan, a professor at Peking University who was in charge of carrying out the survey, said at the press conference that they found that measures to uphold the legal rights of the LGBTQ+ community in workplaces in China are still in the initial stage. Additionally, they noted that when comparing the situations after an employee began working at a company, employees were treated better when they had been invited to apply for the job.

At the same time, the survey shows the progress that is taking place at Chinese companies. According to the results, 14 companies encourage their employees to join activities that help the LGBTQ+ community such as becoming volunteers in public interest organizations.

Fourteen companies have alsotaken various measures to speak out for the LGBTQ+, including sending emails and distributing pamphlets at the office and holding commemorative events during special occasions such as Monday's International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.

"Many corporations, especially private firms, have been actively working to change the situation for LGBTQ+ employees and improve related assistance measures," the report highlighted the optimistic trend.

Some guests attending the press conference told the Global Times that labor disputes caused by discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees at workplaces are still being heard in court in various cities such as Hangzhou and Qingdao.

In the report, researchers recommended that the government introduce anti-employment discrimination laws as soon as possible and more proactively hear and accept cases related to LGBTQ+ discrimination. 

International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia began trending on Chinese social media platforms on Monday with related hashtags such as "Love is Love" and "May 17" earning more than 1 billion views on Sina Weibo as of Monday afternoon.