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Contxto – Although the Latin American startup ecosystem continues to break new ground with investments and innovations, the Brazilian startup SafeSpace has conceptualized a digital platform to tackle rampant workplace discrimination in its native market.
According to StartSe coverage, this digital platform combines HR and compliance to streamline reporting workplace discrimination, harassment, and general misconduct. Considering that many reported cases go untouched, SafeSpace intends to ease the reporting, follow-ups, and resolutions for such incidents.
Created by Rafaela Frankenthal, this new technology is currently in the developmental stages. In her opinion, the SafeSpace platform responds to a growing demand to address workplace discrimination and other pervasive issues.
“The problem is latent,” said Frankenthal, who launched SafeSpace in November and expects it to go live halfway through 2020. “People want a safe way to report. In addition, companies are looking to become more transparent, either to attract talent, to reinforce culture or to protect themselves from larger processes in the future.”
For the business model, Frankethal also intends to sell subscriptions to affiliated companies via a SaaS (software as a service) format. Moreover, the SafeSpace system will cover a variety of misconduct cases stemming from abuse of power. These include bullying, sexual harassment, among other all-too-common disturbances.
To ensure long-term reliability, reports will also be private, time-stamped and unalterable. On top of adding a blanket of security, these features also serve as protection for employees using SafeSpace.
“Reports after a long time lose credibility, which is natural, especially in traumatic cases,” added Frankenthal. “So, the ledger also serves to keep reliable records for when a person decides to take concrete action.”
Consequences of workplace discrimination
Harmful physical, emotional, and psychological health effects can stem from workplace discrimination, according to a survey entitled “Me Too: Does Sexual Harassment Hurt Firm Value Workplace?”. Conducted in the United States, it gathered data from over 1 million employee reviews at over 1,000 companies via Glassdoor and Indeed.
Upon closer speculation, not only does workplace discrimination hinder people’s holistic health, but also company finances. That’s to say, the 101 U.S. companies with the highest rate of harassment performed 19.9 percent below the stock market average.
What this boils down to is a combined devaluation of US$212.2 billion per year or US$2.1 billion per company.
Gender-based workplace discrimination
While Latin America has matured at an astonishingly fast rate in regards to entrepreneurship and tech innovation, women still face abhorrent amounts of workplace discrimination.
For example, 40 percent of respondents from the “State of Startups 2019” survey by First Round Capital claimed that their gender obstructed the likelihood of upward mobility. Besides lowering the probability of reaching senior-level positions, it also tainted the overall hiring process.
Even among female startup founders, 70 percent of respondents from the survey claimed limitations due to their gender. By limitations, I mean more rejections when it comes to raising capital.
Here’s to hoping that 2020 is the year that diversity and inclusiveness replace workplace discrimination once and for all.