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Creating Safe Spaces at Work

Fresh from Pride Month, key leaders discuss practices to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion in the office

If we’re to heed the call that Pride should go beyond June, then we should pay attention to best practices and habits that can help us create a stronger culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

In recent years, more companies have been ramping up their efforts to promote DEI initiatives in the office. In the case of Mondelēz International in the Philippines, these have been at the forefront of their operations. 

“We stand for creating a workplace where our people can be themselves, regardless of religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or background,” shares Aileen Aumentado, People Lead of Mondelēz International in the Philippines, at #ProudToBeMe, an online event and celebration of DEI for LGBTQIA+ employees in the workplace, hosted by Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan.

“In our workplace, we value each other. Our work on DEI has centered on creating a best-in-class organization where our colleagues who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community can be the best they can be. We also empower allies, to stand for belonging and speak out against discrimination.”

Among the company’s DEI practices are providing gender-neutral and inclusive policies and benefits, providing organizational support through guidance of senior leaders, enabling self-identification particularly on the use of pronouns and names, education and networking opportunities, and social responsibility and thought leadership on inclusion and diversity. 

Mondelēz Philippines is also the first within the company’s Southeast Asia business unit o to have a workplace policy that outlines three basic gender rights: the right to a preferred name, the right to dress to reflect identity and, the right to safe spaces. They also provide gender-neutral parental leaves, regardless of birth method (biological or adoption).

To celebrate Pride Month, Mondelēz International also partnered with UP Babaylan from the University of the Philippines Diliman to paint a pedestrian crosswalk in rainbow colors. Established in 1992, UP Babaylan is the longest-existing duly recognized LGBTQIA+ student organization in the Philippines and in Asia. 

“By working with UP Babaylan, we want to extend our DEI messages outside of our Company,” adds Aumentado. “It is important for us to express public support for the LGBTQIA+ community and proactively help influence the workplace culture of our partners and stakeholders.”

Working with Pride and #ProudToBeMe Organizations

Since 2021 Mondelēz International has been a member of the Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP), a collaborative, voluntary and non-profit community of Pride/LGBTQIA+ advocates and allies from private organizations in the Philippines. 

Fire Sia and Earl Tan from PFIP also graced the #ProudToBeMe event to speak about their ongoing Standards Playbook project, which aims to provide a guide for companies who wish to strengthen their DEI practices. The Playbook is expected to be released late this 2022.

Another partner that Mondelēz International relies on for DEI advocacy is public relations (PR) agency CASTRO Communications—an instrumental player in pushing the LGBTQIA+ agenda in the Philippines. At the online event, CASTRO PR’s Managing Directress Janlee Dungca spoke about the importance of their work in representing the community. 

“I am #ProudToBeMe because I unapologetically live my truth as a transgender woman every single day. I know that my value isn’t dependent on and goes beyond my SOGIESC,” she shares. 

“In Castro PR, we make sure we are a safe space for our LGBTQIA+ siblings by always upholding best practices on diversity, equity and inclusion. These include holding talks and conversations about SOGIESC and gender sensitivity, having gender-neutral restrooms, encouraging LGBTQIA+ applicants for job openings, providing equal company and healthcare benefits to all our employees, encouraging them to step up as leaders, and making sure that we work with a healthy mix of LGBTQIA+ suppliers and Key Opinion Leaders in our PR campaigns.”

All these efforts are in line with creating healthier and safer spaces at work, all to keep the spirit of Pride, diversity, equity, and inclusion all-year round.