Why do we celebrate Pride Month? On June 28, 1969, a police raid in a New York gay bar on Christopher Street, the Stonewall Inn, resulted in resistance that would ultimately contribute to significantly decreasing discrimination, harassment, and violence against the LGBT+ community.

The protest lasted for days, marking a turning point in LGBT+ rights activism. In this time period, jurisdictions of many countries, including Germany, defined homosexuality as a crime.

Our progress since then is worth celebrating and today the world recognizes Pride Month and demonstrates the rights of the LGBT+ community every year during June. Notable achievements over the years include multiple countries dropping anti-gay legislation, legalization of same-sex marriage, and introduction of inclusive education. In addition, representation in music, film, politics, and the media has greatly improved.

Despite momentous strides forward, discrimination remains commonplace. Some 69 countries still criminalize homosexuality; 26 severely penalize transgender people; 10 enact death as a punishment. Almost a third of the world is still not safe.

Discrimination is not always a physical or verbal attack; it can take many forms, such as restrictions to healthcare, education, information, and other personal benefits. Discrimination is not always obvious.

At SAP, we are fortunate to have leaders, colleagues, and allies around the world. Diversity and inclusion is a business priority and as a brand, we are proud to stand up for what is right.

SAP employees are proud to be part of a multi-cultural workforce and guided by a diverse leadership team. Over the years, SAP has created a safe space where every employee feels welcomed, fueling the company’s creativity to provide excellent products and services to SAP customers every day.

SAP CEO Christian KleinNo less than SAP CEO Christian Klein has put a premium on guaranteeing the company’s inclusive and diverse culture: “This is a special year. We’re celebrating 20 years of Pride@SAP! We thrive on diversity, and this is thanks to so many engaged colleagues shaping an inclusive culture. At SAP, we want to make sure that all voices are being heard. It shouldn’t be a privilege to be able to be your true self at work or anywhere else, and we want to support all our colleagues so that they feel comfortable in doing so. Let’s celebrate diversity and equality and stand in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community — during this Pride Month and every other day of the year.”

The Clear Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion

Likewise, the data demonstrates the benefits of being a diverse and inclusive business.

By whatever margin one assesses, be it profit, employee satisfaction, or innovation, being unbiased leads to improved results.

Pride@SAP Leadership Allies Are Key

Pride@SAP provides a safe space for the community and actively engages in driving LGBT+ inclusion and diversity at SAP. Together, SAP employees stand up against inequality and raise their voices whenever needed.

As a volunteer network, Pride@SAP is proud to be supported by SAP executives, community members, and allies, and will always encourage more colleagues to raise their voices in support of the LGBT+ community. Because intolerance affects everyone and at SAP, the employees determine their culture – no one shall be left behind.

SAP Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer Julia White“As a proud mother to a non-binary child, supporting the LGBT+ community is especially close to my heart,” said Julia White, chief marketing and solutions officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “And while we have come so far, I believe that there remains a constant and urgent need to fight for equality in our society. I hope to positively impact our company’s LGBT+ community by ensuring a truly diverse, inclusive, and safe environment for every person, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

White is the Global Executive Sponsor of Pride@SAP. Her sponsorship was announced to SAP employees on May 17, 2021, as the world commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.

Julia White SAP Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer - Pride Month 2021

20 Years of Pride@SAP

June 1, 2001, marked the birth of Pride@SAP, which represents the LGBT+ community and its allies at SAP. Since then, the group has grown to include a truly global network with 38 chapters around the world and over 8,000 members.

Although 20 years is a milestone worth celebrating, out of respect to the current situation and the hardship that this pandemic is causing for so many of us globally, big celebrations were postponed. Instead, Pride@SAP has focused on more impactful virtual events to raise awareness and commemorate LGBT+ community achievements, like:

SAP Votes a Clear No on Intolerance

There’s no resting on one’s laurels when driving diversity and inclusion because there is always more to do. SAP believes that everyone has the right to be who they are and become their authentic selves. It creates a safe space for employees to feel comfortable in all facets they bring to the organization.

There is no doubt that fostering diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do on all fronts. Pride@SAP is unceasingly proud to set a thought-leading and provoking diversity and inclusion example.

The fight for equality is crucial and still relevant. Numerous countries are still hostile toward the LGBT+ community. Anti-LGBT laws and policies have bred stigma, discrimination, hate crimes, and punishment toward the community and its allies. This unfortunate situation is simply unacceptable to SAP.

We invite you to join SAP and the rest of the world in driving equality. You can start by becoming an ally and engage with your local community’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Voices from SAP Executive Board Members

SAP Executive Board Member Sabine Bendiek“New ideas are populated through different perspectives and opinions. Let’s celebrate our differences and ensure everyone feels welcomed and empowered at SAP, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, age, or abilities. This month, we honor our commitment to the LGBT+ community. Happy anniversary, SAP, for 20 years empowering Pride.”

– Sabine Bendiek, chief people officer, labor relations director and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

SAP Executive Board Member Luka Mucic“At SAP, we all jointly carry the responsibility to create a safe working environment – one where different perspectives are valued, where everyone is respected, no matter what their sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, culture, or physical or mental ability, and where speaking up is encouraged. I am personally committed to being a vocal and visible champion for inclusion at SAP and to speaking up on behalf of those whose voices may not always be heard. In this spirit and as an outspoken ally, I am very proud that Pride@SAP is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.”

– Luka Mucic, chief financial officer and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

SAP Executive Board Member Juergen Mueller“Regardless of demographic, gender, or ethnic background, we all share a basic need to belong. Belonging is about being accepted for who we are, where our differences are seen, acknowledged, and appreciated. It fosters creativity and drives innovation. Pride Month reminds us of how important it is for everyone in our company and society to feel safe and to belong. Let’s celebrate our LGBT+ community for 20 years Pride@SAP!”

– Juergen Mueller, chief technology officer and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

SAP Executive Board Member Scott Russell“As we celebrate 20 years of commitment to Pride@SAP, as an ally of the LGBTIQ+ community, I am proud to work for a company that encourages individuals to be their true selves and live authentically every day. Celebrating our differences makes us stronger, both as a company and a community. That’s why this month, and every month, we must stand strong in our commitment to embrace inclusion and diversity for all.”

– Scott Russell, head of Customer Success and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

SAP Executive Board Member Thomas Saueressig“We at SAP believe that embracing differences and creating an environment of belonging makes us stronger as a company and as a society. Different perspectives and opinions lead to new ideas, and that’s exactly what we as a technology company want. Let’s celebrate 20 years of Pride@SAP and our differences — they are the key ingredient of our success and culture at SAP.”

– Thomas Saueressig, head of Product Engineering and
member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

Editors’ note: By referring to the term LGBT+, we intend to increase readability and simultaneously mean to always include all parts of the LGBTIQA+ community.