Nurturing a future of unconditional acceptance because it’s Priceless

September 6, 2021 | By Priti Singh

Three years ago, the Supreme Court of India passed its landmark judgment of decriminalizing consensual homosexuality. While for it to be accepted in society is still a long way to go, it has however, provided tremendous positive reinforcement to the LGBTQIA+ community. They now have the sanctity of legal inclusion, with the next step being societal inclusion.

I believe that every attempt from individuals or businesses will go a long way in tackling the underrepresentation and stereotyping of the community. A conscious effort to bring people from diverse backgrounds – whether gender, sexual preference and/or skillsets is symbolic of a company’s inclusive culture. This is how conversations begin. A single judgment from the apex court brought the issues and challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ to the forefront – which is a good start. 

At workplaces, there has been an effort in encouraging LGBQTIA+ inclusivity through a range of initiatives and at Mastercard, we aim to cultivate a culture where people feel they belong. We strive to build an inclusive workplace, one where people feel empowered and confident to bring their “whole selves” to work. We ensure every individual enjoys equal access to opportunities and resources. 

We believe that our differences enable us to come together as a better team, leading to better decisions, driving innovation, and delivering better business results. Our efforts envision creating a safe and supportive environment that embraces diversity and encourages people to contribute to business objectives regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Our PRIDE Business Resource Group (BRG) pursues to drive awareness and promote acceptance in our people around LGBTQIA+ individuals and community. Recently launched, Degreed Pathway – an informative training program for our people is aimed to build mindfulness around LGBTQIA+ individuals, life challenges faced by them, encourage allyship, demystify any stereotypes and emphasize our inclusive people policies. 

We empower our people with family benefits such as health insurance that are also extended to the partners they choose. We define “family” in our people policies to include all domestic partners, including live-in and LGBTQIA+ partners. Understanding the needs of the community, we introduced gender-neutral washrooms at our Tech Hub in Pune. We work closely with NGO partners across the country to support LGBTQIA+ communities and provide them with resources and opportunities for their upliftment. 

These initiatives not only help in enhancing visibility but also contribute to empower the LGBTQIA+ community. These are everyday actions that require application of sensitivity and, once again, awareness. 

The journey of creating inclusion has just begun. Decency has been central to who we are as a company and everything we do at Mastercard. The need is normalization, representation and inclusion to be embedded in every workplace – a centre piece in the organization’s culture. It is the right thing to do!

Priti Singh, Senior Vice President - People & Capability, Mastercard