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Hong Kong trails other Asian countries in promoting LGBT diversity and inclusion in the workplace, study suggests

In a study reviewing the progress of LGBT equality in Asia, Hong Kong’s companies have a less LGBT-friendly environment compared to their counterparts in the region.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.


A recent study published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) suggests that, across multiple criteria such as employee’s attitude and company’s initiative, Hong Kong’s progress of LGBT equality in the workplace trails other countries in Asia. 

Pride and Prejudice: The next chapter of progress, the fifth issue under EIU’s Pride and Prejudice banner, is part of an annual series of surveys and research reports that explore LGBT rights and review Asia’s progress towards LGBT equality in the workplace. Respondents include white-collar workers from China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

Offices in Asia are less LGBT-friendly than those in the West, as 40 percent of respondents believe that being openly LGBT would be a hindrance to one’s career prospects, compared with 11 percent who say it would be an advantage. 60 percent of respondents also believe that their firm’s level of investment in LGBT diversity and inclusion should stay the same or be scaled back.

However, the study also suggests that countries such as China and India show noticeable progress in creating a more LGBT-friendly workplace. 64 percent of respondents from China and 85 percent from India believe the business world has a fundamental imperative to drive change around LGBT diversity and inclusion, compared with an average of 59 percent.

“Although Asia remains a continent of contrasts… the rest of the world looks forward to the next chapter of its progress on LGBT issues, spoken with a single, forceful voice of acceptance.”

Pride and Prejudice: The next chapter of progress

Hong Kong, in contrast, presents a more socially conservative office culture. Only around 20 percent of respondents from Hong Kong said they would be “very comfortable” working with an openly LGBT manager, colleague or subordinate. In comparison, more than 30 percent of survey respondents from Japan and around 40 percent from India made the same claim. 

More noticeably, none of the respondents from Hong Kong think their company has made “substantial progress” in LGBT diversity and inclusion over the last three years. 34 percent of respondents from China, 21 percent from India and 18 percent from Taiwan said yes to the same question.

Nevertheless, the study highlighted advantageous court rulings for LGBT equality in Hong Kong, along with other LGBT victories such as Taiwan’s adoption of same-sex marriage as examples of the progress made in the region. 

The study concludes: “Although Asia remains a continent of contrasts—political, social, technological and otherwise—the rest of the world looks forward to the next chapter of its progress on LGBT issues, spoken with a single, forceful voice of acceptance.”

To read more about the report, visit The Economist Intelligence Unit’s website.

Printer: R&R Publishing Limited, Suite 705, 7F, Cheong K. Building, 84-86 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong

Thomas Chow

Thomas is a student at the University of Southern California studying Communication. His interests range from local politics, international relations and macroeconomic policies.

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