Toward the end of 2018 the corporate offices in Pune continued to demonstrate Symantec’s commitment to a culture of inclusion by placing all gender restrooms on each floor of the office. The single stall accessible restrooms have been changed to “all gender restrooms” and are identified by clearly visible signage. Any kind of change that works toward diversity and greater equity fills my heart with pride and happiness.
Growing up in India as a Navy man’s daughter, I was fortunate to get to explore many parts of the country. Through my travel, I was exposed to many of the mainstream thinking patters prevalent in our society. Thinking patterns that said girls should not be educated too much. Thinking patterns that said that girls should not be given too much freedom because we may become difficult to control, which could then leave us without a suitable groom.
Any kind of change that works toward diversity and greater equity fills my heart with pride and happiness.
I know exactly what it feels like to be seen as less than and treated unequally. This poor treatment has led me to become an ally for others who have also been treated unfairly. I was also lucky to have sensible parents who helped make me all that I am today – parents who taught me to treat people with respect. This combination of experiencing firsthand negative treatment from society, and also the positive upbringing from my parents, gave me the courage to stand up for what I know is right.
The all gender bathrooms in Pune are a huge win for Symantec as we continue on our journey to create a culture of belonging where everyone feels they can thrive. This new change is an especially great relief for people from the transgender community, who no longer have to worry about which restroom they’re “supposed” to use. The way that transgender people are seen and treated in India is a huge cause for concern, but initiatives like all gender bathrooms in Pune are a sign that things are gradually taking a turn for the better.
The all gender bathrooms in Pune are a huge win for Symantec as we continue on our journey to create a culture of belonging where everyone feels they can thrive.
As an ally for the transgender community, I’m so happy that I work for an organization that is concerned for all our employees regardless of their gender identity. The all gender bathrooms may seem like a small action, but the physical and psychological safety that this arrangement provides for people who are transgender or gender non-conforming is really important. We all want to feel safe at work, and when we do we can share our whole selves and be more productive both in and out of the office. We can also now have more open communications about this topic, which will lead to greater transparency, openness, courage, commitment, and respect. This will surely bring smiles to many faces.
There are great examples at Symantec of how equal access to opportunity allows individuals to achieve great things, while also building connection and pride in our communities. For example, C Moulee has experienced career success at Symantec as an openly gay person; and Cass Averill transitioned from female to male on the job almost ten years ago and is thriving in his new role as DEI Program Manager. These are just two examples of the positive benefits of a commitment to equity. By supporting all its employees, Symantec is showing that your hard work and humanity are what counts, and that discrimination based on your caste, color, sexual orientation, or gender identity will not be tolerated.
The all gender bathrooms may seem like a small action, but the physical and psychological safety that this arrangement provides for people who are transgender or gender non-conforming is really important.
Last summer, India passed a ruling to decriminalize homosexuality, which was a huge step in embracing the diversity in our country. It’s been said that law is merely a piece of paper unless and until it is implemented and brought into action. So here we are, six months later, immediately accepting the positive change and implementing forward-thinking ideas – as a country and as an organization. I’m sure all people working at Symantec are proud to be connected with an organization of such high values. I know I am.
Zainab S., attendee and panelist at the Out & Equal Forum in Bangalore, shares key takeaways and how to be a better ally to the LGBTQ community.
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