Reflections on the Taiwan Conference – October 2020

Reflections on the Taiwan Conference
(Held on the 27th of October 2020)

“Taiwan – Trailblazing LGBTI Workplace Inclusion in Asia” was the title of this unique bi-national and multi-media event organised by Workplace Pride in October. With the sub-title: Marriage equality in times of social change”, this timely and well-attended hybrid event was organised against the backdrop of ever greater diverse and inclusive societies and workplaces. 

As the first country in Asia to implement marriage equality, Taiwan has both a great responsibility to make an impact on LGBTI workplace inclusion and a great opportunity to set the tone in the region for years to come. And now, within the context of social and geo-political changes surrounding the global pandemic, the leadership role for Taiwan is even more needed.

As Workplace Pride’s only in-person event held during the pandemic this year the conference was hosted by EY and ASML in cooperation with NGO’s Hotline Association and Taiwan Equality Campaign. The first section of the conference in Taiwan saw around 80 attendees gathering for targeted workshops and included a panel on diplomatic channels of influence with LGBTI workplace inclusion. This was followed by a globally streamed event featuring various high level speakers including:

  • Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister) 
  • Moriaki Kida, EY Japan Regional COO)
  • Ching-Yi Lin, (Taiwan’s Ambassador-at-large. 
  • Peter Bailliere, ASML EVP for HR&O
  • Hsing-Hsing Chen, Taiwan’s Representative to the Netherlands

Personal and human stories were shared, along with breakout sessions for physical attendees to connect, share and evolve their understanding of the issues facing Taiwan and workplace inclusion for the LGBTI community at present and going into the future.  

Hsin-Hsin Chen, Taiwan’s Representative to the Netherlands was present in Workplace Pride’s Amsterdam studio with David Pollard (Exec. Director of Workplace Pride) for the latter section of the conference which was being held online for viewers world-wide.

To see the video of this ground-breaking conference click HERE

Sean Du and Mei Ying, Hotline Association 

“Since same sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan, more and more companies have started to pay attention to LGBTI+ inclusion in the workplace.

This conference provided an opportunity for participants to understand why LGBTI+ inclusion is important, and to learn from the thoughts and experiences of diplomats and representatives in both corporate and NGO’s on workplace equality. It also provided a platform for participants from corporates, NGO’s and governments to connect with each other. For the issues going forward, we need to think about how NGOs, corporates and governments could work together systematically on the topics. We need to let more LGBTI+ community members understand that it’s their right to work in a place that is LGBTI+ inclusive. We also need to think about how to include more local business to work with us.”

Andrew Fuh, EY Taiwan Country Managing Partner

“As the executive sponsor of our LGBT+ network, it was a pleasure for EY to host Workplace Pride with ASML in showcasing both the progress Taiwan has made around containing Covid-19 in being able to have an in-person event and progress around marriage equality as eloquently summarized by minister and ambassador Audrey Tang and Lin Ching-yi. The conference provided a platform for multinational and local companies to discuss ways to implement LGBT+ friendly policies in bringing out the best of our talent and building a better working world. EY is fortunate to be one of the handful of companies that signed the marriage equality statement to encourage both the legislature and government to legalize same sex marriage in 2018, and again in 2019. Through Workplace Pride, we are confident more like minded organizations will join hands as game changers in advancing LGBT+ equality from Taiwan to the rest of Asia, improving the lives of LGBT people at work and in greater society.”

Michiel Kolman, Co-Chair of Workplace Pride

“The Workplace Pride conference was well attended with representatives of major companies, civil society, the diplomatic corps who all engaged enthusiastically in the main program, and especially in the break-out workshops. What was well represented in the program and through the participants, was the role diplomacy plays to support marriage equality and LGBTI human rights. What is a clear next step here is to put exactly that on the diplomatic agenda outside Taiwan and while the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry was saluted for the work they have done so far, there were also clear calls to do more in this area.

Another clear theme was that the legal side might have been well addressed, e.g. through marriage equality, but that doesn’t translate to an immediate effect on work culture, and the acceptance and support for the LGBTI community in the workplace. It was significant that international companies hosted the conference and also the participants came mostly from multinationals. Taiwanese companies, neither large nor small, were present, and that is something that should be changed over time.  This conference can very well be seen as a call to action, perhaps even reflected in a ‘Declaration of Taipei’ with the objective to expand marriage equality around the region and actively promote LGBTI workplace inclusion in Taiwan itself, at companies of all sizes. An objective that will require active support from leading companies, civil society, the government including the diplomatic service. More to come for certain!”

Thanks to all contributors from Hotline Association, EY and Workplace Pride

Published 8th of December 2020