LGBT inclusion in the labour market in Brazil

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The report “LGBT people living in poverty in Rio de Janeiro”, launched by Micro Rainbow International in 2015 identified the needs of low income LGBT people in Rio de Janeiro and assisted the organisation to design its strategic actions in Brazil. Given the urgent need and, paradoxically, the great difficulty for LGBT people to access job opportunities, especially transgenders and travestites, we set up specific activities to support them, such as free upskilling courses through a network of partnerships with training providers (including Rede Cidadã, Gastromotiva, Escola Carioca de Hotelaria, CNA Cittá Américas). Improvement of educational levels is essential to LGBT inclusion considering the high drop-out rates in formal schooling caused by homophobia and lack of family support, which often expels young LGBT from households, forcing them to early and precarious work conditions. These upskilling courses have brought amazing results in terms of work and income opportunities for LGBT people in Rio (Find out more about these results).

Raising employers’ awareness of a diverse and inclusive labour market

However, we all know that balancing educational levels between LGBT and heterosexual people is not enough to expand job opportunities for our community: that depends, above all, on the sensitivity of the business sector to sexual and gender diversity. That’s why the MRI team has created a training module called “LGBT Inclusion in the Labour Market” for managers, HR sectors, private companies and other institutions about the barriers faced by the LGBT community in the labour market. The aim of this training is to raise employers’ awareness of diversity policies and inclusion guidelines in the corporate world. The training is also offered to our training providers network and other project partners, promoting a welcoming environment and positive treatment for our beneficiaries.

The full training explores, in a very dynamic, interactive and practical way, basic concepts of gender and sexual orientation, explains LGBT socioeconomic exclusion, the benefits and recommendations for LGBT inclusion in the workplace, and discusses best practices to create a work environment free from homo and transphobia. MRI also provides exclusive and comprehensive reading material to guide each training participant, including bibliographical references and conceptual glossary.

Overview and preliminary results

Since the beginning of the Micro Rainbow Brazil project in 2015, we have delivered trainings to representatives of 23 institutions, including Grupo Pão de Açúcar, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, SENAC and SENAI, as well as the delegations of the European Union in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela and officials from some UN agencies in Brazil. A total of 230 people were trained and the impact of each training was measured by our own evaluation tools – a survey distributed before and after the training to identify and evaluate their previous and acquired knowledge.

An overview of those survey results shows relevant improvements on all topics of the training, particularly on sexual orientation and gender identity concepts, issues of homophobia and transphobia, LGBT socioeconomic vulnerabilities, discrimination against LGBT in the workplace and benefits of sexual and gender diversity for the corporate world. We recorded an average of 50% increase in participants’ knowledge of the topics above, and a 200% increase in terms of legal rights, which proves the effectiveness and relevance of this kind of work.

About 90% of the world’s largest corporations have developed concrete corporate diversity policies. This reality, however, is not reflected in Brazil. According to a national survey “Demitindo Preconceitos”, 38% of Brazilian companies impose restrictions for hiring LGBT people and only 35% of gays, lesbians and bisexuals feel comfortable to come out at work due to fear of discrimination. Although there’s a growing interest from companies and a few pioneer initiatives, such as the Forum of Business and LGBT Rights in São Paulo, there is still a great need for training like ours to help companies carry out more inclusive selection processes and LGBTI friendly corporate practices. Only when we change this reality can we pave the way for socioeconomic inclusion and equal rights for the LGBTI community worldwide.

If you would like to make a comment or ask a question, please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

If you like the work of MRI please do make sure to stay connected by signing up to MRI’s quarterly e-bulletin. If you want to have even a greater impact on LGBTI peoples’ lives consider becoming an Ally. Allies help MRI to reach out to more LGBTI people in poverty and to provide them with some of the tools they need to lift themselves out of it.

For more information about MRI’s work in Brazil please contact Lucas Paoli Itaborahy, Project Manager

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