Government & international business participate in transgender symposium
Dordrecht, 25 October 2012 – International research shows that transgender people are often unemployed or under-employed and socially isolated. Yet a 14-year study in the Netherlands shows that 42% of transgender people have a higher education as compared to 25% of the general working population. Why the discrepancy? What can be done to better integrate transgender people into the working world and what is the unique quality that so many transgender people bring to the workplace?
To explore these and other questions, Transgender Network Netherlands (TNN) has organized an international symposium today and tomorrow in Dordrecht for and about transgender people at work. This symposium brings together transgender people, HR professionals and other stakeholders. It also has the support of the Dutch government, large employers (such as IBM, Accenture, and Philips) and civil society organizations from around Europe which will debate these questions and begin to identify solutions.
The symposium begins at 18:00 this evening, with a reception at Dordrecht’s Medieval City Hall with an introduction by Dordrecht Mayor A.A.M. Brok.
Dutch Minister van Bijsterveldt (Emancipation) will open the symposium:
“For the approximately 50,000 transgender people in our country it is often a real battle to be treated with respect. It is important to demonstrate that no matter what your gender identity, you have value for society. We not only want transgender people to be themselves and to participate in society, but we are also showing that bringing transgender people back and keeping them in the workplace gives value to all parties”.
states the Minister. Dutch State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment, Paul de Krom will be the first keynote speaker on 26 October at the DaVinci College in Dordrecht where the symposium will be held.
In support of this initiative, TNN will be annoucing the “Declaration of Dordrecht”. The Declaration includes a 10- point agenda for employers and employees that should be embedded in organizations to create safe and comfortable workplaces for transgender employees. Elements unique to the Declaration include enabling employees to express their gender identity and supporting transgender persons during their transition period. However, it also calls for non-discrimination dealing with benefits and other social protection measures which are specifically related to or, as a result of, them being transgender.
Carolien van de Lagemaat, Chairperson of TNN: “This symposium and the Declaration of Dordrecht are a first step in making the, often inequitable, position of transgender people in the workplace a topic of discussion. The strong show of support that we have received by both the public and private sectors demonstrate that this topic’s time has come”.