Innovations That Inspire

Gender Toolkit for LGBTIQ+ in Business

Recognition Year(s): 2023
School: College of Management, Mahidol University
Location: Thailand

In collaboration with the U.N. Development Programme, CMMU developed a gender toolkit that would help the Thai business sector design gender-inclusive projects, adopt gender mainstreaming, and support LGBTIQ+ employees.

Call to Action

Although known as a paradise for the LGBTIQ+ community, Thailand still lacks legislation to protect this community from discrimination. Detecting and addressing this type of discrimination in the workplace can be challenging. There is still a deficiency in organizational policies and support, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, which leads to underreporting of discrimination. This shortcoming could imply that LGBTIQ+ issues are unimportant issues in the Thai workplace.

Recognizing the importance of creating inclusive environments in the workplace, we sought to introduce the concept of diversity and inclusion for LGBTIQ+ in Thai business organizations. We created a Thai LGBTIQ+ task force to pioneer this toolkit, which was produced with support from six major business organizations. We developed and designed tools and techniques to help Thai businesses obtain data from members of LGBTIQ+ communities who were hesitant to reveal their identities and sexual orientation. Moreover, we conducted exhaustive research conducted to confirm the relationship between organizational outcomes and LGBTIQ+ workforce diversity.

Innovation Details

This toolkit is a management innovation for Thai businesses that may be keen to explore how to develop diversity and inclusion policies for their organizations and staff. LGBTIQ+ concerns have been taboo in Thai organizations for decades. Similar to the concept of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” organizations hardly discuss LGBTIQ+ matters with their staff, as if they do not exist.

This toolkit helps leaders officially discuss gender diversity issues, and it also helps the management teams of SMEs recognize the benefits of diversity, thus identifying the need for good human resource practices and ethical leadership. Each organization that adopted this framework held three meetings, with proposed future policies to business and government sectors.

Innovation Impact

The toolkit helps Thai businesses understand the needs of LGBTIQ+ employees and the gender dimensions of leadership, as well as guides them creating diversity policies, mainstreaming gender equality issues into human resources policies, implementing new policies, and engaging employees in policy observance. It further guides users in designing modern, inclusive organizations and includes examples of activities, inputs, indicators, and targets to respond to gender issues in business.

As a result of collaborations with the management teams of four companies, the guide also includes insights on Thai culture with respect relationships, individualism, communication, and roles and responsibilities. These inputs led us to create a section and tool on LGBTIQ+ management in the Thai context. Finally, the toolkit includes case studies and stories from LGBTIQ+ workers in order to illustrate good practices and promising approaches in mainstreaming gender in different types of organizations.

The task force that developed the toolkit will meet in 2023 to revisit details and problems they encounter in integrating this tool to improve quality of life of LGBTIQ+ employees.