Network was established in Zurich in 1996 by Jan Willem van Lynden and a number of other people. The aim was to establish an association of gay managers who would network with one another and play an active role in the world of work, politics and the media on the basis of clearly defined goals.
Gradually, Network was extended to other regions. The first regional group outside Zurich was set up in Berne in 1997. Other important steps were the establishment of the first French-speaking group in Lausanne in 2005 and of a regional group in Ticino in summer 2013. Today, Network is an important and established part of the LGBT community and membership has stabilised at around 500.
2016 – 20 years of Network
Network is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016. This is a particularly special occasion! During its history, Network has made a significant contribution to many equality initiatives of the Swiss LGBT community and to the fight against discrimination. In the political arena, these include anchoring the ban on discrimination in the Federal Constitution and Network's central role in the campaign for the referendum on the Partnership Law. Network also made an important contribution to the pleasing result of the vote on the CVP's initiative on the “marriage ban”.
A milestone in respect of the workplace is our guide for human resources departments, with information and guidelines on dealing correctly with gay and lesbian employees in the workplace. Coming out at work, problems experienced by gay managers and aspects of diversity management are ongoing issues.
The biennial Network Cultural Award has been presented to various art disciplines since 2001. The prize money is CHF 15,000 and the award honours outstanding achievements in the arts by gay people or works that take up issues related to Network's goals.
Contact to partner organisations in other countries has been cultivated from the outset. Network is a founding member of EGMA (European Gay and Lesbian Managers Association) and was presented with the International LBGT Business Organization of the Year 2009 Award by the International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which is based in Montreal.