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Gilead, BMS and Roche give voice and visibility to LGBTQ+ community

Health Industry Hub | February 15, 2023 |

In honour of WorldPride 2023 coming to the southern hemisphere for the first time, Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb Australia (BMS) co-hosted a rooftop celebration in Melbourne while Roche hosted the event in Sydney. The events offered people working in the pharma industry an opportunity to demonstrate their support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

The most recent Australian Workplace Equality Survey of 45,000 employees found 85% of people supported the work their organisation does for LGBTQ+ inclusion. Nearly 60% of respondents said a business’s track record in this aspect of inclusion would positively influence their decision to join the organisation.

When considering the state of LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion in the pharma industry, the survey participants from the industry (n = 330) painted a more positive picture compared to the national results.

One of the most significant variations from the national results was that 95% of LGBTQ+ employees in the pharma industry felt a positive impact about their sexuality as a results of workplace inclusion initiatives, compared to 60% nationally.

Visibility of active allies was far higher than the national cohort (93% vs 57%), and in turn, the visibility of active allies positively impacted their sense of inclusion (86% vs 49%). Seventy-nine percent (79%) reported they are ‘out’ to most or everyone they work with (vs 61% nationally).

Encouragingly, the level of executive endorsement of sexuality and gender diverse inclusion initiatives was 93% within the pharma industry cohort vs 67% nationally.

Commenting on the importance of Gilead marking WorldPride, Jaime McCoy, General Manager of Gilead Australian and New Zealand, said “I am truly delighted that Gilead led the inaugural cross industry pride event, partnering with BMS, to celebrate WorldPride which promotes and advocates for LGBTQIA+ people. The theme this year is Gather.Dream.Amplify. which is a calling to create change and long-lasting legacy for LGBTQIA+ communities. At Gilead ANZ we are proud of our strong and true culture that embraces diversity and inclusion, and our ongoing work to listen deeply, learn and take action.”

Leah Goodman, General Manager of BMS Australia and New Zealand added “BMS is proud to support and advocate for all LGBTQIA+ peoples. We promise to show up educated, be allies in the workplace and beyond. While a lot of progress has been made, we’re conscious of the work still to be done. We promise to play our part.”

Stuart Knight, General Manager of Roche Products stated “Roche Australia was proud to host the inaugural face-to-face meeting of the Proud Science Alliance last night. There was a lot of energy and passion in the room as the group discussed how the pharma industry can work closer together to better support the LGBTQI+ Community. A special thanks to Ian Lunt from Astra Zeneca for bringing together the companies who have formed the Australian Chapter of the Alliance.”

While the pharma industry can be proud of its substantive work in this space, there are a couple of key areas where the sector is potentially lagging, according to the survey.

LGBTQ+ women were under-represented within the survey, with only 38% of respondents being women. Within the pharma industry only 30% reported that there are women of similar identity as them who are visible ‘out’ role models within their workplace (vs 43% nationally).

Also, despite 58% of gender diverse employees in the industry seeing visibility of organisational inclusion, some practical measures were not so positive. Only 42% of respondents reported they had freedom to use toilets of choice, 41% reported some alternatives to gendered dress codes or uniforms, and only 47% report their organisation acknowledges gender diversity beyond the binary of male/female.

WorldPride is a global initiative that promotes and advocates for LGBTQIA+ human rights around the world. This year it is being hosted in Sydney from 17 February to 5 March.

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