Gap Inc.

January 23, 2020

For the 15th consecutive year, Gap Inc. is proud to have earned a 100% rating in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index which rates workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) equality. When it comes to inclusion and equality, the work never ends. To explore the ways Gap Inc. shows up with and for our LGBTQ employees and customers, we chatted with Kimiko Murota, Director, Change Management, Gap Inc. Product Management and Ross Kline, Senior Manager, Loyalty & Payments, Gap Inc. and previous head of GEAR, Gap Inc.s LGBTQ employee networking group.  

Human Rights Campaign Logo

How does Gap Inc.’s commitment to equality and inclusion show up all year and around?  

Kimiko: Equality and inclusion are part of our everyday culture. It’s in the way my District Manager would celebrate my male employees wearing Rockstar jeans for finding the right fit, when I was in stores. It’s knowing you can introduce your same-sex husband/wife to a colleague or your manager without flinching. It’s the in-your-face way we celebrate Pride across the country, in Canada and in Japan. It’s our partnership with UN Free & Equal to extend our support beyond our 4 walls.  

Ross: Gap shows up year-round by participating in events that support our employees and communities.  We do this by participating in Pride Parades across the country, having our Brands support the United Nations Foundation Free & Equal campaign, supporting LGBTQ Chambers and participating in Out & Equal, fundraising for World AIDS Day and volunteering in our community.  We also work with our other EBNGs to show up for employees and are a resource for them when needed. 

What makes you proud about how this commitment show up around the world? 

Kimiko: I have been fortunate to benefit from this inclusive culture since I started in 2002, and it makes me proud to see this acknowledgement so that everyone else knows what kind of company they support by working and shopping in our stores.  

Ross: Since 1969, Gap has supported inclusion and support for all.  We have stood up for the rights of people when these have been challenged or taken away.  We still support what is right! 

Can you talk about a moment or moments when you knew this is what the company stood for and had your back?  
Kimiko: Our company has stepped up to the plate multiple times for me personally – leadership conversations sticking up for what’s right in the early years of my career to supporting my wife through an international relocation. On a bigger scale, same sex benefits and the LGBT Ally Training in Japan are big actions that continue to demonstrate our values.  

Ross: In my years with the company, I can think of many times.  We were an early company to offer benefits to same sex partners. Having us sign on to the UN’s Global Business Standards and supporting issues for the LGBT community. 

Ross, you’ve led the Gap Inc. LGBTQ networking group, GEAR for 4 years. Tell us about that journey.   

My interest in GEAR started when I felt the need to show up more for our employees outside of where we had GEAR chapters at the time (Albuquerque, Chicago, New York & San Francisco).  Having come from the stores years ago, I felt that our store employees needed more help than our teams in these areas as we in the headquarters offices as the support was already there.  Over the past 4 years, the GEAR team has helped to get a GEAR team in Japan up and running and has started the work to start a team in our Distribution Centers.  We have also got more involved in the communities across the country.  We have participated in over 15 cities for Pride Parades for our employees across the US and with our local teams volunteering more. 

You also spearheaded the organizations partnership with the United Nations Free & Equal campaign. Tell us about that.  

This was a great opportunity that was brought to the GEAR team about 3 years.  It was an idea that started when Bob Fisher meet members of the United Nations Foundation.  The two of them thought that it would be amazing to have to global companies/organizations work together to support LGBTQ(I) rights around the world.  We started out small at first by having the Free & Equal team come and speak at events in the New York and San Francisco offices.  Over the years this partnership has grown so much.  We have brought Athleta, Banana Republic & Gap in the mix the past few years by promoting the Free & Equal campaign on their social pages, showing up in marketing and in some of those brands, selling product to support the campaign.  Over the past 4 years, we have donated over $450,000 to Free & Equal to support LGBTQ(I) rights around the world.  We have also had the opportunity to support and attend United Nations Foundation events in New York and Washington D.C..  I look forward to seeing what this partnership looks like for the years ahead. 

Learn more about the amazing leaders of Gap Inc.’s Equality & Belonging Networking Groups here

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