Prudential Vietnam Assurance Private Limited (“Prudential Vietnam”) and the British Chamber of Commerce Vietnam (“BritCham Vietnam”) co-organised the first “Pride at Work” event to promote a healthier Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) culture in the workplace by addressing LGBT+ community experiences in Vietnam. The event drew 100 leaders from various organisations who pledged to break the bias in LGBTQ+ community at work.
Prudential and BritCham want to start the movement Pride at work to create a truly diverse and inclusive culture in the corporate environment. A healthy workplace that deepens belonging will benefit not only the employees but corporations greatly. Stonewall, the leading UK based charity for LGBTQ+ advocacy states that “The best employers understand why all their employees should feel welcome, respected and represented at work. They know that inclusion drives better individual, business, and organisational outcomes. And they believe that staff must be able to bring their whole selves to work. Because when LGBTQ+ employees feel free to be themselves, everybody benefits.”
This first ever “Pride at work” event in Vietnam underscores both organizations’ dedication to promoting diversity and equality in the workplace by engaging & inspiring businesses and organizations in the Britcham’s network. The event is also an opportunity to strengthen awareness about the importance of breaking social bias for LBGTQ+ and share experiences through networking to drive LGBTQ+ activities in business.
Joining the event were Mr. Tran Thanh Phong (Chief Marketing Officer of Prudential Vietnam), Mr. Alan Phan (Founding Head of School of North London Collegiate School Ho Chi Minh City), Ms. Ngo Le Phuong Linh (Director of ICS Center) and Mr. Ung Hoang Loi (Director- Media & eCom Transformation of P&G Vietnam). In a panel discussion, they shared how organisations can break the bias for LGBTQ+ in the workplace and what they have done to create an inclusive and diverse working environment. Moderated by Dustin Phuc Nguyen, the panellists shared their insights about the challenges for LGBT+ in the grey-suited world of business world, especially ‘traditional and conservative’ businesses.
Despite apparent corporate support, Stonewall reports that more than a third of LGBT staff (35%) have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination and one in ten ethnic, including black and Asian, LGBT employees (10 per cent) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community report feeling vulnerable, underrepresented, and unable to bring their whole selves to the workplace[i].
In early August, Vietnam’s ministry of health said in an official document that being LGBTQ+ is “entirely not an illness” and “cannot be ‘cured’ nor needs to be ‘cured’ and cannot be converted in any way”2. This directive of the government signalled a major progress in LGBT rights in Vietnam. However, it is recognised that there is a long way to go for the LGBTQ+ community from being socially accepted to be recognised under the law in Vietnam.
Believing in the diversity of its employees and the inclusion in its work environment, Prudential Vietnam has enriched its organization and embedded Diversity & Inclusion into its corporate culture. Last year, Prudential plc was included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for the second consecutive year. Prudential has a D&I Charter with the goal to empower its people and create a sense of belonging by respecting and appreciating differences. Aligning with its ESG statement: Creating a better future, together with you.
In line with embracing a more progressive view and inclusive definition of family, Prudential plc has launched its latest campaign, “Made for Every Family,” which highlights diverse types of families whether it be nuclear, extended, cohabiting, or adoptive. ‘Made For Every Family’ is Prudential’s brand expression that signifies its commitment to protect families of every shape and size across Asia.
“BritCham Vietnam is very proud to partner with an organisation such as Prudential, a leading insurance company in Vietnam. The UK is at the forefront of trying to make society more inclusive and the workplace is a vital part of that plight. We are very pleased to be able to be part of this and continue the development of inclusivity and diversity in Vietnam and particularly in the workplace. We hope this inaugural event will help to highlight the positive changes but also the challenges that still lie ahead, and we look forward to the subsequent events continuing that journey.” said Matt Ryland, Executive Director, the British Chamber of Commerce Vietnam.
Mr. Tran Thanh Phong, Chief Marketing Officer of Prudential Vietnam said: “Prudential Vietnam was among the first to offer same sex domestic partner benefits to employees. We look to collaborate with like-minded organizations to find ways to create a workplace free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination where differences are valued and celebrated.
“This commitment also extends to our customers. ’Made for every Family’ is an example of how Prudential is trying to equalise access to insurance solutions, making insurance more accessible and inclusive by broadening the concept of family, allowing health and protection solutions to cover different types of family”, Mr. Phong added.