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The Bosch RBgay associate network celebrated in Stuttgart and Munich.
Raising the rainbow flag to celebrate diversity: for the fifth time, Bosch took part in the Christopher Street Day festivities in Stuttgart. On the last weekend in July, around 100 associates participated in the parade to express their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. Participants included members of RBgay (RBg), the Bosch LGBT associate network. A few weeks earlier, Bosch also took part in Munich’s CSD events for the first time.
Promoting an environment that is free of prejudice
RBgay aims to create a work environment that is free of prejudice. Its members are committed to raising awareness on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity at the company, reduce fear, and build networks between colleagues. LGBT Allies plays an important role in this regard. Launched last year, the project reaches out to open-minded allies at all Bosch business sectors, who can then actively support their RBg colleagues by speaking openly about LGBT issues.
“RBg contributes to making our corporate culture even more open by allowing associates to be themselves and feel appreciated – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” says Christoph Kübel, the director of industrial relations at Bosch. “The members of the network thus play an important role in promoting diversity at our company. For associates to reach their full potential and contribute creative ideas, they need to feel safe.”
Chapters around the world
RBg was founded by six Bosch associates in 2006. Today, the network counts more than 400 members in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In 2016, Bosch associates in the United States founded a chapter of RBg, which has since held events on a regular basis. A group was also formed in Japan this year, where LGBT are still now widely accepted in local society. Members meet for an LGBT lunch on a regular basis and raise awareness with a range of events.
More information about the Bosch LGBT network can be found here.
The company’s LGBT network is celebrating its 10th anniversary
Ten years ago, Bosch associates joined forces to found RBg, the Bosch gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender associate network. Their aim was to make the LGBT community more visible at the company, and to promote greater tolerance and acceptance. A great deal has happened since then: today, more than 290 members in 10 countries are active members of RBg. And Bosch sponsored this year’s Christopher Street Day celebrations in Stuttgart, demonstrating the company’s commitment to promoting diversity. This sent out an important signal, says Dr. Jean-Claude Loux, a Bosch engineer and the associate network’s spokesperson.
Dr. Loux, this year’s CSD was held under the banner of “Operation Visibility”. How visible is the LGBT community at Bosch?
As a result of our involvement in events such as Christopher Street Day, it is become increasingly visible. The Bosch sponsorship was communicated through a variety of channels: there were articles on the intranet, in the associate newspaper, and on Facebook. As a result, colleagues see what we are doing and just how important diversity and the LGBT community are at Bosch. The sponsorship has helped Bosch strengthen its position, also vis-à-vis its associates. Today, Germany has the greatest RBg representation, but our network is also growing in other countries in which the topic of homosexuality is still taboo. This is mainly the result of our board of management’s clear support of our network.
How can an associate network promote greater tolerance with regard to sexual orientation?
As the network has grown, each and every one of us has become more visible. This is important, because it has contributed to making interaction with the LGBT community more natural and relaxed. Many people still associate homosexuality mainly with sex. We want to change that: after all, sexual identity is a great deal more, and shouldn’t be reduced to physicality.
What would you like to see for your community in the next ten years?
If I look around at Bosch in Germany, I can see that tolerance is widespread. But sometimes there is still a lack of acceptance. For this reason, I would like the LGBT community to be just a normal part of the Bosch community. I’d also like to reach out more to our colleagues in production as well. Since they aren’t sitting at a computer, they are more difficult for us to reach.
Thank you very much for the interview, Dr. Loux.
More information on diversity at Bosch can be found here.
The RBg associate network is committed to promoting acceptance of people with different sexual orientations.
by Madeleine Förster
At the end of July, Stuttgart's Christopher Street Day celebrations were loud and proud. For the first time, more than 70 members of RBg, the Bosch lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender associate network, marched in the parade. The Bosch truck's self-confident message was that Bosch stands for diversity, and diversity is an asset.
RBg started out as a private initiative among Bosch colleagues. The network officially came out at the company in 2012. Since then, its members have made their sexual orientation public. One of them is Matthias Reimann, who has been working at Bosch for 14 years. "While we want to promote gay and lesbian topics within the company, we also aim to be there for our members. We want to give them advice and help them in difficult situations. At the same time, we want to help make Bosch attractive to potential applicants." With the goal of encouraging a positive exchange between people with different sexual identities, the network is open to all Bosch associates.
"Associate networks can bring new ideas to the company. In turn, this can help spark change," says Heidi Stock, Head of the Associate Development and Diversity Management department. "This is why they are so important for Bosch." Besides RBg, there are another ten or so cross-location networks. Together, they have made a significant impact. One of them is family@bosch, which promotes the balance between professional and family obligations. Another is cam@bosch, a network of African associates and colleagues interested in Africa. Each year, it organizes an annual event to encourage cultural exchanges at Bosch and beyond. In total, more than 1,000 Bosch associates in Germany are actively involved in a network.