India's first LGBTI job fair - RISE Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity – creates history
Bengaluru – July 12, 2019: As many as 900 people got together in the city to be part of RISE (Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity ) – India’s first LGBTI job fair, creating history while giving direction to what can be a more inclusive industry and society.
In attendance were 3 global leaders including Selisse Berry, Founder Out & Equal, Ali Potia, Partner Mckinsey and Dr J Harrison, ThoughtWorks UK besides pioneers in workplace inclusion from India – Keshav Suri & Parmesh Shahani.
Organised by the two-year-old Pride Circle, co-founded by Srini Ramaswamy & Ramkrishna Sinha, “We have always pushed for inclusion keeping in mind what the LGBTI can offer and what industry requires in terms of talent and what they need to do to include,” said Srini Ramaswamy. Ultimately, “If we can move forward in bridging the loss to GDP as per the World Bank Report which as much as $30.8 billion, we will feel we’ve got somewhere,” points out Ramkrishna Sinha who revealed that there are more such fairs on the cards.
The event was organised by the Pride Circle, a platform that engages with working individuals - queer and allies including influencers from top MNCs to Indian corporations, across the country. The event created a bridge between corporations and the LGBT talent pool. The job fair saw a participation of more than 300 Candidates/ Jobseekers across the LGBTI spectrum for various sectors in IT, Banking, Security, Housekeeping and Administration.
Significantly, unlike several job fairs, this job fair covered the blue to white collar space. Pride Circle is hopeful to place at least 1000 LGBTI candidates within the time of a year.
RISE witnessed participation from Corporates, Candidates, NGOs/ CBOs and LGBTI Owned Businesses.
“Affirmative action is directed action to include and that is the need of the hour, to creative true equity. The default is not a level playing field and RISE aims to enable inclusive workplace which empowers people to be their best & do their best. RISE is for LGBTI talent to build the career they deserve at the workplace they belong.” said -Ram, Co-Founder Pride Circle
“Due to lack of enabling legal provisions in India, LGBTIQ people often cover or downplay aspects of their authentic selves (e.g., by hiding personal relationships or changing the way they dress or speak) in order to avoid discrimination.
The RISE job fair provides attendees the opportunity to interact with employers that are very clearly interested in hiring LGBTIQ professionals. Leadership buy-in forms the core of any inclusion strategy, and the same applies to LGBTIQ. Company leaders participating here have demonstrated that they value the individuals for their performance and not due to their gender identity or sexual orientation” said Zainab Patel – National Manager, Health & Human Rights – UNDP India
“Queer representation is the need of the hour. It is great that 377 has been read down, but a lot more needs to be done to embrace, empower and mainstream the community. The Lalit is an equal opportunity work space. We have hired, skilled and worked with more than 100 queer people at The Lalit. At Kitty Su, we created a platform for drag and more than 30 queens have and continue to perform. With events like RISE, it is an affirmative action to promote inclusion and diversity, bringing together corporate India and LGBTQ+ talent pool together under one roof. I urge corporate India to take the lead, putting rainbow flags is not enough, the companies must now show their support by hiring from the community. I wish Pride Circle all the best with their endeavour. Now is the time to recognize the merit of the LGBTQ+ community and welcome them and celebrate the difference. The Lalit and Keshav Suri Foundation are committed to bring forth the voices that have long been marginalized and ensure the community gets equal opportunities.” said Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, Founder – Keshav Suri Foundation, It Gets Better India Campaign and Kitty Su.
"Every forward thinking organization needs to create LGBTQI supportive policies and environment to tackle discrimination and set the tone for the larger society. For us at Intuit, diversity and inclusion is not just something we do, it is part of who we are. As part of our efforts to expand our diverse employee population, we partner with a variety of organizations across the world. So, we are truly proud to join hands with RISE for India's first LGBTI job fair and hope more organizations in India embrace this movement." said Sanket Atal, Managing Director, Intuit India.
More than 35 global leaders shared Best Practices for LGBTI inclusion from hiring, sensitization, career enabling, policies & benefits and everything one needs to know about enabling LGBTI employees to bring their whole self to work and build a magnificent career at the day long event..
40-50 companies set up their booth and had an opportunity to engage with LGBTI talent. A platform offering opportunities to connect inspire and guide LGBTI students and professionals. Besides Booth, there were conversation and interview zones for quick conversation with pre-screened candidates.
As part of supplier diversity & vendor partnership, a physical marketplace was created where 20 LGBTI owned businesses got an opportunity to sell/ showcase their products & services.
RISE will be one of its first of its kind property which aims to travel to 10 cities (over next 18-24 months) within India where Pride Circle has its active presence and works closely with the corporate sector.