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More Than a Dozen Fashion Companies Receive Top Scores In Corporate Equality Index: Here’s What That Means

This year marks 20 years since the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) launched its Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a benchmarking survey and report measuring company policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer LGBTQ+ workplace equality.

This year, a record-breaking 842 businesses employing 14.3 million workers earned the CEI’s top score of 100, up from only 13 in its inaugural year, the HRC said.

Fashion and footwear companies among the businesses that scored 100 include Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas North America, Amazon Inc., Brooks Sports Inc., Caleres, Designer Brands, eBay Inc., Gap Inc., Genesco Inc., J. Crew Group, Kohl’s Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., Macy’s Inc., Neiman Marcus Group, Nike Inc., Nordstrom Inc., PVH Corp., Ralph Lauren Corp., SPARC Group, Tapestry Inc., Target Corp., Tiffany & Co., Under Armour Inc., VF Corp., Victoria’s Secret & Co., Walmart Inc., Warby Parker, and Zara USA Inc.

According to HRC, throughout the CEI’s two-decade history, new scoring criteria was introduced this year including a focus on expanding gender-affirming healthcare and workplace policies, ensuring equality in LGBTQ+ family formation benefit offerings, centering LGBTQ+ intersectionality through training and data collection best practices, and more.

“We strive to provide an enterprise-wide inclusive and diverse culture at Genesco. We are proud of the LGBTQ+-friendly policies, benefits, DEI programs and overall responsible citizenship that our company continues to embrace and celebrate,” said Genesco CEO Mimi Vaughn.

For Neiman Marcus Group CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, this score is a little more personal. “As a gay man and one of a few openly gay CEOs, it has been a mission of mine to ensure that all associates feel like they belong at Neiman Marcus Group,” he stated. “I am proud of NMG’s recent recognition as the ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality’ and know there is still significant work that needs to be done. I am personally committed to this mission and am excited to continue evolving our Belonging programs, partnerships, and initiatives at NMG to ensure every community is seen, heard, and supported.”

The results of the 2022 CEI showcase how 1,271 U.S.-based companies are not only promoting LGBTQ+-friendly workplace policies in the U.S., but also 56% of CEI-rated companies with global operations are helping to advance the cause of LGBTQ+ inclusion in workplaces abroad.

The 2022 CEI also found that 379 of Fortune 500 businesses have official CEI ratings based on submitted surveys, as compared to 366 last year—with actively participating Fortune 500 companies having an average score of 94%, up from 92 last year.

And 71% of the Fortune 500 and 91% of all CEI-rated businesses offer transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage, up from zero in 2002, and 14 times as many businesses as ten years ago.

Finally, 56% of the Fortune 500 and 77% of all CEI-rated companies offer comprehensive domestic partnership benefits, up from 69% of companies in 2002, which at that time only required same-sex partner benefits.

“When the Human Rights Campaign Foundation created the Corporate Equality Index 20 years ago, we dreamed that LGBTQ+ workers—from the factory floor to corporate headquarters, in big cities and small towns—could have access to the policies and benefits needed to thrive and live life authentically,” said Jay Brown, SVP of programs, research and training at HRC, in a statement. “We are proud that the Corporate Equality Index paved the way to that reality for countless LGBTQ+ workers in America and abroad. But there is still more to do, which is why we are raising the bar yet again to create more equitable workplaces and a better tomorrow for LGBTQ+ workers everywhere.”

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