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Pride and Prejudice Summit: Business as a catalyst for change in LGBT rights

Pride and Prejudice

The Economist Events to host global 24-hour event exploring LGBT diversity and inclusion as a business priority. 

On March 23, 2017, The Economist Events will host its second-annual Pride and Prejudice Summit, a 24-hour event spanning three cities, London, Hong Kong, and New York, that will catalyse a fresh global discussion on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) diversity and inclusion, particularly by focusing on the economic and business costs of LGBT discrimination and the profitable opportunities that lie in overcoming it.

“The inaugural summit in 2016 made a powerful business case for LGBT inclusion and diversity,” says Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist. “This year, we aim to expand on that theme by exploring how companies can be catalysts for change—and why we need them to be.”

Chaired by The Economist editors, Pride and Prejudice 2017 will link conversations between the three locations through live video sessions. Participants will include chief executives, politicians and activists, such as:

Mark Anderson, managing director, Virgin Holidays
Xavier Bettel, prime minister, Luxembourg
Karen Blackett, chairwoman, MediaCom
Harry Briggs, partner, BGF Ventures
Ronan Cassidy, chief human resources & corporate officer, Royal Dutch Shell
Michael Cole-Fontayn, chairman, EMEA, BNY Mellon
Robyn Exton, founder, HER
John Mills, founder, JML
Ivan Scalfarotto, under-secretary of state, Italy
Deborah Sherry chief commercial officer, GE Digital, Europe
Simon Stevens, chief executive, NHS
Serpil Timuray, chief commercial and strategy officer, Vodafone
Steve Wardlaw, chairman, Emerald Life, Europe
Riccardo Zacconi, chief executive officer, King
Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief, The Economist (London event chair)

In each city, policymakers and industry leaders will tackle the thorny questions pertinent to that region, but with common questions in mind. E.g., How will the rise of illiberal populism in the west impact the outlook for LGBT rights? How are new generations changing the meaning of diversity and forcing companies to rethink their inclusion policies? What can advocates for LGBT inclusion learn from other groups that have been marginalised? What can we learn from case studies of businesses operating in parts of the world where cultures or laws are hostile toward LGBT people?

In 2016, the business sector made some important strides in the fight against discrimination against LGBT people around the world. Eighty-seven percent of Fortune 500 companies now have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation, and for the first time ever, the issue made it to the agenda of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Millennials, who have great expectations for diversity and are pushing companies to embrace inclusion much more than previous generations did, are also contributing to a seismic shift in priorities.

Yet setbacks have shed light on how much still needs to change. LGBT communities continue to be targeted by authorities, with high-profile incidents taking place in Indonesia, Uganda, Turkey and Egypt. In the U.S., the Orlando nightclub shooting highlighted how far the country still has to come to close the equality gap, despite the Supreme Court’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage just one year before.

For more information and updates on Pride and Prejudice or to register for the summit, visit pride.economist.com

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