International Day Against LGBTIphobia – Learn About Vale’s initiatives and challenges in the quest for workplace diversity

About Vale


International Day Against LGBTIphobia – Learn About Vale’s initiatives and challenges in the quest for workplace diversity


The International Day Against Homophobia is observed on May 17 and, as the date draws near, the subject gains prominence in discussions with managers and direct employees and third-party employees at Vale. For a few years now, the company has been investing in policies and initiatives to foster diversity in its offices and operations, in appreciation of ​human differences, including sexual orientation. Vale believes that a diverse workforce can help analyze everyday problems and search for solutions from different angles, building a more creative, healthier, and safer work environment.

In addition, Vale fully same-sex relationships and provides both heterosexual and homosexual spouses the same benefits. “We know that mining is still a male-dominant industry. Our challenge is to foster an openness to diversity and continue to evolve together with society. For that, we need a diverse pool of people, but they will only want to be part of our team if they feel they can be themselves,” explained Willer Junior, human rights analyst and leader of the LGBTI+ Affinity Group at Vale.

Promoting an environment of respect for each person’s singularities is one of the commitments undertaken by Vale in its global Diversity and Inclusion strategy. This year, for example, the company set the target to double the female workforce by 2030, from 13% to 26%. Another initiative is the creation of affinity groups to foster debate. Currently, there are two groups of women addressing gender equity issues, and another dedicated to LGBTI issues. Read the interview with Willer below and learn more about this group.

What is the role of LGBTI affinity groups in the corporate environment?

Create spaces for debate and sharing of information and ideas related to diversity and inclusion, helping improve the organizational environment and make Vale a more diverse and inclusive company. These groups help fight all forms of discrimination and prejudice in Vale’s work environment by encouraging a constructive and respectful debate of ideas.

How important is to make the corporate world genuinely embrace the LGBTIQ+ community?

The Proud at Work study commissioned by LinkedIn points out that, though still fearing discrimination, half of LGBTI professionals already speak openly about their sexual orientation or gender identity in the work environment. On the other hand, one in four professionals has never told anyone about it and 22% admit that it is because they fear retaliation. However, prejudice and discrimination in the workplace are not the biggest issues faced by LGBTI people. According to a study conducted by Out Now in 2017, there are about 9.5 million LGBTI adults in Brazil, and approximately 56% experienced verbal abuse in the last 12 months while 7% suffered violent attacks.

Despite recent advances in LGBTI rights, people of all ages and in all regions of the world are still victims of deeply rooted prejudice and discrimination often combined with a lack of adequate legal protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Not only is this group discriminated in the labor market, schools, and hospitals, they are also mistreated and rejected by their own families.

The recognition of basic LGBTI rights alone is not enough to change this harsh reality; we must respect, accept, and embrace this diversity in all structures of the corporate world and society. We must celebrate LGBTI diversity and tap into its plurality of possibilities and lessons learned from more respectful social relationships to evolve as a society.

That is why acknowledging LGBTI diversity is so critical to companies. Companies must have policies with clear commitments and adopt work practices that can improve the quality of life, working conditions and dignity of all employees.

What behaviors are expected from co-workers to help consolidate a LGBTIQ+-friendly environment?

Be professional and respectful when addressing the subject. If you become aware of jokes or any form of prejudice or discrimination, speak directly to the person who is acting this way; dialogue is always the best way to go. If the jokes continue, contact the Ethics and Conduct Office Do not say "sexual preference; say sexual orientation instead, because sexuality is inborn rather than a result of conscious choice. Beware that LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex. Those who understand, respect, and support the demands of this group but do not identify as LGBTI are called allies. Use gay or lesbian to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. Because of the clinical history of the word "homosexual," it can be used to suggest that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered.

About the International Day Against LGBTIphobia

May 17th marks the celebration of the World Health Organization's decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) – one of the first major achievements of the LGBTI community and activism. The day represents a major annual global milestone to draw attention to the violence and discrimination suffered by those whose sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is different from typical expectations of the gender they were assigned at birth.

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International Day Against LGBTIphobia – Learn About Vale’s initiatives and challenges in the quest for workplace diversity