In today’s ‘The week that was…’ – Unilever recently won the Company of the Year at the European Diversity Awards, a toys retailer in Sweden has published a gender-neutral Christmas catalogue, Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque to open on the outskirts of Paris, and 60 years since the first successful sex change operation was announced.
Unilever recently won Company of the Year at the European Diversity Awards. In an interview with the Guardian, the vice-president of the company, Nick Brassey, discusses Unilever’s approach to diversity. Ranging from provisions for job-share to representation of 22 nationalities on leadership, Brassey explains that Unilever believes that the impact of diversity within business is enormous, “The world has shifted to an environment where, unless we appeal to top talent, whatever their background, we will not be successful globally.”
A toys retailer in Sweden has caused controversy by designing a gender-neutral children’s Christmas catalogue. The pamphlet shows boys holding dolls and girls playing with guns – an effort at breaking down gender stereotypes. “With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It’s not a boy or a girl thing, it’s a toy for children,” Top Toy director of sales Jan Nyberg told the media.
A prayer room described as Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque is opening on the outskirts of Paris. The initiative has been driven by Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, a self-proclaimed “French Muslim who is gay, and a feminist”. Mr Zahed believes it is important to create an inclusive space for LGBT Muslims who may feel uncomfortable praying in established mosques. The reaction from the Muslim community in France has been mixed with the Paris Grand Mosque arguing that the Koran condemns homosexuality.
It has been 60 years since the first successful sex change operation was announced in America. It made Christine Jorgensen the first widely known person to have undergone gender reassignment. Jorgensen’s operation was carried out in Denmark by Dr Hamburger. Many years later Jorgensen recalled, “I was a bit nervous because there were too many people at that period who insisted I was crazy…But Dr Hamburger didn’t feel there was anything particularly strange about it.” The milestone her case represents is very well summed up in her own words, “We didn’t start the sexual revolution but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants!”
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