Strategy & Leadership

Pride and Prejudice: The next chapter of progress

December 07, 2020


Pride and Prejudice 2020

December 07, 2020

Michael Gold

Managing editor

Michael is a managing editor at Economist Impact. Although Michael has roots in Montreal, he grew up in Palo Alto, California and attended Yale University, where he majored in anthropology. Prior to joining the Economist Group, Michael was a correspondent for Reuters in Taipei, where he covered the technology sector. He has also worked in Beijing and is fluent in Mandarin. 


For many, the United States Supreme Court decision in 2015 to legalise same-sex marriage nationwide was a recent high-water mark for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, an inspiring moment that served as the culmination of decades of struggle. Although the past few years of turbulent political shifts, trade wars and a major pandemic have seen the global spotlight shift away from LGBT rights, they have not been without significant victories, especially in Asia. Taiwan’s recent adoption of same-sex marriage is the most prominent, but other, more incremental advancements—including significant court rulings in China and India—have also pushed the envelope forward.

With this context in mind, our most recent study under the Pride and Prejudice banner—the fifth in an annual series of surveys and research reports exploring LGBT rights—focuses on Asia. Although the West still contains pockets of discrimination, it is far closer to full equality than it was even a few years ago. Asia, on the other hand, still has a long journey ahead, making the region the true next chapter of progress in this ongoing global fight. With attitudes among young, urban-dwelling Asians changing rapidly, the continent will hopefully pick up the baton.

In keeping with the Pride and Prejudice approach of years past, our research, sponsored by Manulife, Barclays and Nomura, focuses roughly equally on the business community and society at large. In particular, this year it compares corporate attitudes to those of rank-and-file staff with regard to LGBT rights; just as the wider social compass may lag behind—or diverge entirely—from the attitudes and opinions of individuals, so too do companies often default to a conservative “groupthink” mentality that obscures potentially rapid change in attitudes among individual workers. These attitudes are captured via a survey, fielded in August and September 2020, of 359 full-time employees at companies across seven economies: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. Our sample is 44% director-level and above, including 16% C-suite executives. It is 77% male and 8% members of the LGBT community. See the report appendix for full survey results, including demographic data.

Download the report in English | 简体中文 | 繁體中文(香港) | 繁體中文(台灣)日本語

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