IBM established an equal pay policy for men and women in the 1930’s, and an equal opportunity policy 11 years before the Civil Rights Act became law. They were among the first companies to include sexual orientation as part of our Equal Opportunity policy, and they extended domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees in the U.S. almost 20 years ago. And their progress has not stopped. IBM now offer a variety of benefits in 53 countries to same-gender domestic partners or spouses. This year alone they announced the launch of same-gender partner benefits in 11 countries.
Today, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Chief Diversity Officer, IBM, are proud to introduce a new symbol that will represent IBM’s ongoing push for diversity, acceptance, inclusion and equal opportunity – a rainbow version of our iconic 8-bar logo. The rainbow is recognised worldwide as the symbol of LGBT equality, and they are proud to fuse it with the emblem that has represented their company for more than four decades. This is a demonstration of IBM’s continuing efforts to advance and influence nondiscrimination workplace policies consistent with basic human rights. The logo will be used in conjunction with diversity focused IBM programs and initiatives, and also in their pro-diversity advocacy.
The colours of the IBM rainbow logo design were adopted from the original rainbow colours designed by artist Gilbert Baker and commissioned by civic and cultural icon, Harvey Milk, shortly before his assassination. Baker’s design was created to be a symbol for the gay rights movement. Inspired by the Flag of the Races, Baker’s design consisted of 8 stripes of colour, each representing a different aspect of humanity. The design was used for the first rainbow flags that were hand-dyed and debuted at the Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day march held on June 25, 1978.
For nearly its entire history, IBM has been a progressive leader in diversity, advocacy and innovation. They proudly pay tribute to Baker’s original vision in the adaptation of their corporate logo as a way to demonstrate their solidarity, support and continued commitment to the rights of the LGBT community.