Strong global trend of prohibiting discrimination

An interactive forum for discussion around the conference.
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue May 18, 2021 1:28 pm

Strong global trend of prohibiting discrimination

Post by KeesWaaldijk »

The global spread of legal prohibitions of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation: scope for more

presentation by Kees Waaldijk (professor of comparative sexual orientation law at Leiden University)
for Session A on Friday 21 May 2021 (16:00 – 17:00)
at the "LGBTIQ+ Workplace Inclusion Conference 2021"

The recorded long version of this presentation is now online, and consists of two parts (each with its own weblink):
  • Part 1 (15 minutes; featuring a moving bubble chart, visualizing in what years since 1992 some 80 countries around the world adopted legislation explicitly prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in employment, and how international law has reinforced this global trend):
  • Part 2 (37 minutes; exploring the factors that have contributed to the strong global trend presented in part 1, and the reasons why there is scope in more countries to work towards adopting laws that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in employment):
Outline: Over the last 30 years, more than 80 countries have prohibited sexual orientation discrimination in employment. Enacting such prohibitions has thereby become the most common form of legal recognition for homosexual orientation. The trend is quite global (ten countries in Africa, and even more in Asia/Oceania). It is not only reflected in laws of EU and OAS, but also in decisions of various UN bodies and of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Over the same period, decriminalization of homosexual sex took place in less than 45 countries, while also in less than 45 countries same-sex couples gained access to marriage or other civil partnership. On the basis of these numbers, Kees Waaldijk argues that in many more countries there must be scope for prohibiting employment discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation – also in countries where decriminalization of homosexual sex and/or recognition of same-sex families seems a distant ideal. Reasons for this include: covering sexual orientation in laws against discrimination is less controversial than the other two issues; it is easier to find allies for it among organized labour and business; it can build on laws against discrimination on other grounds; it speaks to the recognition of people as humans who need to work to live.

The data for this presentation are based on the annual State-Sponsored Homophobia reports of ILGA World,, and on Kees Waaldijk's Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation (GILRHO). Many thanks to many people who helped in collecting these data. A full description of the methodology of GILRHO, and an analysis of its interaction with GDP per capita, can be found in the article: MV Lee Badgett, Kees Waaldijk & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, ‘The relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development: Macro-level evidence’, 120 World Development (August 2019) p. 1-14 (available in open access at, including in Appendix A under “Download Spreadsheet” the provisional 1966-2011 dataset of the Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation, GILRHO).
Last edited by KeesWaaldijk on Wed May 19, 2021 11:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
Kees Waaldijk is professor of comparative sexual orientation law at Leiden University,
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 13, 2021 11:26 am

Re: Strong global trend of prohibiting discrimination

Post by Jojanneke »

Great work, Kees!
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 21, 2021 12:38 pm

Re: Strong global trend of prohibiting discrimination

Post by jaguiar »

I found the bubble chart impressive in terms of being able to summarize a global trend over a long period, simultaneously showing progress in different parts of the world.
Post Reply