EADS held a dedicated Women’s Day at the Paris air show for the second time, to highlight gender diversity issues and its progress in addressing them since instituting a diversity policy in 2003.

The company ran a programme of seminars, workshops and other events, distributed brochures and showed films relating to women at EADS and throughout the industry at its stand.

“Men and women tend to have different skills and personality types,” says Sophie Gonce, personnel marketing, EADS. “It can only be beneficial to have both working on the same project. We have noticed this in design teams within the company and have also been working with experts on the issue.”

Over the past two years, EADS has concentrated on marketing opportunities to women within the company and the industry in general, at its core locations in France, Germany and Spain. The next phase is to expand this work to its other operations, such as in the UK, and  refocus the policy on women already employed in the company and how to help them achieve their goals.

Flexible working, home-working and mentoring from senior role- model figures within the company are all to be introduced more fully across the company. However, EADS is keen not to alienate male employees and, although the policies are designed to provide an environment in which women can thrive, they will all apply equally to all employees.

“We are definitely against quotas and we don’t want to create positive discrimination within the company,” says Gonce. “So most of the policies we are introducing can apply to both men and women – remote working, for example, will be possible for everyone.”

For the same reason, EADS has largely avoided attending recruitment events tailored for women, but instead has made sure to provide female testimonials and employees at the events at which it it does have a presence.

“We started off sending mostly executive women, role models,” says Gonce, “but they can be too perfect and we want to provide students with a realistic experience they can identify with, so we put up women at all levels and areas of the company.

“We have noticed an impact. More women are becoming interested in the topic and getting involved at different events.

“Questions tend to focus on what the company will do to help them keep the balance between their professional and family life. They also know that aerospace is a pretty male industry and they are sceptical about how they can work in it or integrate with it.”



Source: Flight International