Imagine the UK Prime Minister dumping €53 billion in taxpayers’ money into a volcano. Think of all the good money can do. If you are a citizen of the UK, think about how hard you work to pay those taxes.
According to the World Bank, which is roughly how much queerphobia could cost the British. In Italy that figure would be closer to 36 billion and in Russia and Spain it would be slightly lower due to their smaller GDPs.
The equation is simple: unless you live in a country that scores high on LGBTQ rights (such as Malta, Denmark and Belgium) take your country’s gross domestic product and throw away about 1.7 percent.
The costs of discrimination
The World Bank came up with that figure in 2015 after using India as a case study. Researchers went in search of the WHERE cost of queerphobia, but soon found the task insurmountable. It turns out that quantifying the damage caused by discrimination is not as simple as it seems. And trying to put a monetary figure on the amount of income inclusion and anti-discrimination policies coming in at the national level is equally elusive. Simply put, it is impossible to know how many people are positively or negatively affected by anti-queer policies in areas where queerness is criminalized or considered socially unacceptable.
In another study, Kees Waaldijk, professor of comparative sexual orientation at Leiden Law School in the Netherlands, together with researchers in Europe and the US looked at the laws and economic output of 132 countries around the world to create an index that measures the financial impact of of inclusive practices and policies. Their findings showed a clear link between inclusiveness and greater financial gain.
In fact, on an 8-point scale that measures inclusivity from excellent to terrible, raising or lowering a country’s ranking by a single point was associated with approximately $2,000 US per capita. In layman’s terms, countries that are even one point more inclusive on the scale generate about $2,000 more per person per year than countries that are less inclusive.
Another way to look at that is to recognize that people living in Turkey, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, or any of the other European countries that are at the bottom of the LGBT equality index are likely to spend thousands of dollars a day. years to lose. , per person, due to anti-LGBTQ intolerance. And that’s on top of the money the government spends on anti-LGBTQ policies and enforcement.
Again, I’ll ask you to imagine the leader of your country dumping billions of dollars of your tax dollars into a volcano just to prevent the LGBTQ community from Equal rights. From a purely business point of view, it seems ridiculous.
Setting the bar
Of the 49 European countries on the list the rainbow index, ILGA Europe’s carefully curated rankings for LGBTQ inclusion, only 17 of them score above a “50%” on the Rainbow scale. This particular scale takes into account the employment, life, relationship, health care, and legal status of LGTBQ individuals by country. Essentially, a ranking of less than 50% indicates that queer people in that particular country have less than half the rights than those who identify as heterosexual and cisgender.
This means that more than half of the countries in Europe put money on the table. Depending on the level of equality in a particular country, we could be talking thousands of dollars a year, per citizen. And in the private sector, especially among STEM industries, that number could be significantly higher.
A 2015 report by Josh Bersin, citing a trio of scientific studies, found that companies worth more than $750 billion, with diverse workforces, had 2.8 times higher cash flow than their less diverse peers. Yet another studyfrom New York University researchers, shows that groups with diverse members are better at solving problems related to STEM than non-diverse groups.
What this means for European entrepreneurs, investors and STEM workers is that companies hoping to thrive in the European market can gain a competitive advantage simply by doing the bare minimum when it comes to inclusion.
At the micro level, entrepreneurs who give themselves and their companies the best chance of hiring diverse talent will perform better and earn more than less diverse competitors. And at the macro level, startups, scaleups, and companies forming in areas with a greater focus on equal rights for LGBTQ citizens will eventually have higher ceilings than those in areas with wider rights gaps between groups.
There is also the fact that LGBTQ rights are human rights and so countries that choose to criminalize queerness or continue discriminatory policies and practices also face various forms of punishment from larger governing bodies. Last year, a high-ranking American diplomat to Poland noticed that “according to the Open for Business report, the lack of inclusiveness for LGBTQI+ communities costs Poland, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine more than $8.6 billion a year.”
Those costs don’t come from a community fund for discrimination, they come from taxpayers’ money. That’s nearly $9 billion that doesn’t go into food, housing and medical care for people, repairing infrastructure, strengthening national defenses or boosting the country’s economy through seed funding and other public investments.
Bottom line: Discrimination is a waste of money
In essence, countries like Poland, Italy and Russia that want to further reduce LGBTQ rights are punished threefold:
- They lose money due to lack of diversity
- They are losing money because of the cost of introducing and enforcing anti-LGBTQ policies
- They are losing money due to various forms of sanctions from the global human rights community and related governing bodies such as the European Union
You don’t have to be queer to realize that the high cost of discrimination is bad for business. It is therefore important that European entrepreneurs, investors and STEM students preparing for the labor market take into account Where, geographically, they choose to invest their time and money.
Just as organizations in the US need to be aware of the status of women’s physical autonomy laws, racial discrimination policies, and state LGBTQ rights to ensure they associate with governments that are pro-diversity (and thus pro-business), those who want to build STEM industries in Europe must prepare for the future by ensuring they are somewhere where human equality is not unnecessarily dependent on whether a person chooses to identify as heterosexual and cisgender.