IBM - Straight For Equality

straight for equality

Straight for Equality in business


IBM is a global leader in delivering innovation through business and information technology services, systems and software. IBM does business in 170 countries with over 380,000 employees worldwide.

Global workforce diversity is a cornerstone of IBM’s strategy to differentiate ourselves as one of the world’s great companies. We recognize and value a culture of diversity and inclusiveness as an essential part of how we attract and retain the best talent.

IBM’s commitment to diversity has always been at the core of our business. In 1953, IBM CEO Tom Watson Jr. signed a corporate equal opportunity letter one year before the U.S. Supreme Court ended “separate but equal” policies in public education, and 11 years before Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Watson’s policy stated simply that IBM will hire people based on their ability, “regardless of race, color or creed.” IBM’s subsequent CEOs reinforced that policy across all employee constituencies throughout the years.

IBM’s commitment to workplace equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals was formalized in 1984 when IBM first included sexual orientation in its equal opportunity policy. IBM extended this global policy to include gender identity and expression in 2002.

IBM provides salary and benefit equity for LGBT employees in every country in which we operate unless prohibited by local law. Our domestic partner health care benefit program is in place for over 80% of our employees worldwide and we continue to review and refine that program to keep pace with changes in legislation around the world.

We continue to be recognized externally for our progress on LGBT issues in the workplace, maintaining our 100% ranking on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the United States for the sixth consecutive year. We have also received top marks in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index in the United Kingdom.

We have 43 LGBT diversity network groups around the world with 19 in the United States, 16 in Europe, four in Latin America and four in Asia Pacific.

We continue to see more IBM LGBT executives willing to be out and open as role models and mentors for LGBT employees. We have implemented leadership development programs to ensure that top performing LGBT employees have the opportunity to be considered for promotion to executive positions.

Our LGBT sales team has been expanded and continues to deliver measurable business results, demonstrating the real value of an open and inclusive workplace.

IBM is proud of our tradition of leadership in promoting an inclusive workplace that empowers all of our employees. IBM will continue to promote global workforce diversity as its key differentiator among all others. IBM is proud to be the first recipient of the PFLAG Straight for Equality in Business award.


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