WorldPride an opportunity to make further strides on inclusivity

As Sydney WorldPride 2023 officially begins, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) welcomes retailers support for the LGBTQ+ community – with some of Australia’s leading and largest brands committing to an industry-wide position statement to build more inclusive workplaces. 

ARA CEO and long-time diversity advocate Paul Zahra said that genuine inclusion of LGBTQ+ people is vital to the retail sector, with Sydney WorldPride an opportunity to take further strides in addressing imbalances and promoting equality.  

He applauded ARA members, Coles Group and Optus for their leadership in supporting Sydney Worldpride and welcomed the support of ARA strategic partners, American Express and Deloitte as key sponsors of the event.  

“Sydney WorldPride 2023 is a fantastic opportunity for retailers to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion,” Mr Zahra said.  

“Events such as WorldPride attract hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe – including a highly engaged demographic of LGBTQ+ individuals, many who have a high disposable income. 

“The modern consumer is shopping cautiously, thoughtfully and repetitively, favouring companies that align with their values and beliefs. They are increasingly looking for companies and brands that take proactive stances on social justice and equality.” 

The NSW government expects more than 78,000 domestic and international visitors to attend Sydney WorldPride 2023, with more than 500,000 people anticipated to attend the three-week event between 17 February and 5 March 2023.  

Held every two years by a roving host city, Sydney WorldPride 2023 is slated to be one of Sydney’s biggest events since the 2000 Olympics, bringing up to $100 million into the local economy. 

“Not only will Sydney WorldPride 2023 be a celebration of the vibrant diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s also an exciting opportunity to continue the revitalisation of Sydney’s CBD and restore Australia’s standing as a visitor economy powerhouse, with its flow-on effects across the retail economy. 

“Whilst Sydney is hosting the event, we expect Australian retailers across the country will take the opportunity to celebrate diversity, equality and inclusion nationally – sending a strong and encouraging message to both the domestic and international visitors. 

 Mr Zahra commended the societal shift that has taken place so far, but said further action is required to achieve true equality. 

“The LGBTQ+ community unfortunately, even today, can be seen as a social taboo. So corporate support of the community is the ultimate litmus test of inclusion.   

“Genuine action goes beyond a public statement. It means providing a welcoming, friendly and safe environment for all employees so they can feel comfortable and proud of who they are regardless of their sexuality and or how they identify”.  

The ARA’s position statement on Inclusion of LGBTQ+ People can be found here.