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#ChooseToChallenge every day, not just on International Women’s Day

We believe that the mission to achieve gender equality goes beyond one day of the year.

#ChooseToChallenge every day, not just on International Women’s Day

March 2021

Annually, we celebrate International Women’s Day and have done so for over a century, with the first international day initially observed in 1911. Over the last 100 years or so this has seen us celebrate incredible women in our lives, in our workplaces and beyond. It has seen us address the changes that are required to shape a fully inclusive, gender diverse society. It also provides an opportunity to appreciate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. But there’s still a way to go, especially in notoriously male-dominated STEM industries.

#ChooseToChallenge

In 2021, the theme is #ChooseToChallenge. Challenging requires action and action evokes change. This can be extended to challenging perceptions, workplace norms, existing societal structures, conversations, and much more. As we anticipated, many organisations have already come forward to talk about how they’ve challenged workplace norms in authentic ways and encouraged diversity around the board room table.

We’re also seeing personal stories shared on LinkedIn with details of women who have inspired others in the workplace and have been drivers for real innovation and change. It’s exceptional to see this recognition, but we would question whether these conversations should be reserved for one day in the calendar. Instead, we’d ‘challenge’ this approach. After all, if these career opportunities are visible to the next generation of female STEM professionals it can help to encourage more young women to pursue these career routes.

Diversity in the Manufacturing Sector

As a whole, gender diversity is improving in the manufacturing sector. According to research by Manufacturing Global, 25 of the FTSE100 manufacturing firms have a 32% female board average, which is higher than the universal average of 28.4%. However, just one of the companies featured a 50/50 male-female board member split. These figures suggest that there is still room for further progression across the industry as a whole.

Plus, the pandemic has also presented new challenges when it comes to workplace gender inequality. 90% of the UK’s 2 million single parents felt that they had been ‘consistently left behind’ due to the pandemic, and home-schooling duties taking precedent over work responsibilities. The Women and Equalities Committee warns that the government risks ‘turning back the clock’ on gender equality by overlooking the labour market and caring inequalities faced by women. This is another factor that many employers should be taking into account as remote operations continue.

The Nuaire mission

When it comes to Nuaire more specifically, we believe that the mission to achieve gender equality goes beyond one day of the year. Instead, we’re consistently striving to create a more gender-diverse workforce. We’re proud to say we have several exceptional female members of the team, some of whom have been with us for decades. Someone who instantly comes to mind is Wendy Thomas, our residential product manager. Wendy initially joined our team as an accounts administrator in 1977 and later became our residential product manager, a role which she has proudly held since 1999.

However, we recognise that similar to the wider manufacturing industry, we have more work to do to further close the gender gap in our organisation. We appreciate that we have an uneven split, and we’re not going to hide behind the numbers. This is something that we are actively looking to address. For us, we believe that this comes down to education and showcasing the opportunities available to women during those pivotal decision-making periods.

We regularly open our factory floor to young people looking to make decisions about their future and are working to ensure that we can create a more inclusive environment for all. With this, we hope to create a more gender-balanced team across our organisation both on the factory floor and in senior leadership positions. To do this, representation is key. So, we will better showcase the women already doing incredible things within Nuaire – and trust us, there are many.

We’ll finish by saying that we’re proudly choosing to challenge. That includes manufacturing industry trends and even those patterns we are seeing within our own organisation.