Monday, September 26, 2005

Equality Index

The HRC has released its nnual Corporate Equality Index - showing, according to the HRC, what companies are the most gay-friendly. Like most things with the HRC, I don't agree completely with how they arrive at the scores. For example, giving domestic-partner benefits is counted as equally as offering diversity training including sexual orientation as gay positive marketing. While training is important, benefits should count much more. That costs the company significantly more money and sends an even greater message (action versus words) in my mind. Training should be a bit heavier than marketing; marketing is simply trying to reel in a customer demographic. Training sends a true message of inclusivity.

But a record number of companies (101), scored a perfect 100 rating. That's an impressive number and nearly double last year's count of 56.

North Carolina, my state, did pretty well, with two companies (out of 9 companies in the state that were rated) scoring 100. Those companies are Replacements Limited, a store that specializes in helping you finish collecting out of print china and antiques and Mitchell God + Bob Williams, a furniture company (with a three-page ad in the October 11 Advocate).

Replacements Limited is gay-owned and operated. Plus all employees are allowed to bring their pet dogs to work - how cool is that? They are gay owned and operated and have been strong supporters of NC Equality and other positive non-gay programs. Give them some business if you can.

Of the other seven, three scored an 86, two a 71, and a 43 and a depressing 14, the lowest score on the scale. Oh well, can't win them all. But that's a pretty impressive showing and a good sign.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, the South didn't fare so well over all with only a handful (around 13 or so if you count Texas, not a true Southern state, but more conservative) in the 100 scoring range. The South has always been slow to catch on, it's sad to say, but I believe that it will eventually turn the corner. Southerns are slow to change their minds, but generally care about doing the right thing.

Go patronize some businesses that treat their employees right and take your money elsewhere with companies who don't.

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