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Bosch talks about gender equality at a UN conference
Although women make up half of the world’s population, in many countries they are still denied equal access to education and qualified jobs. According to a United Nations study, women in most of the 67 countries examined occupy less than a third of management positions. What is more, they spend about three times more time on unpaid household labor than men. On the basis of Sustainable Development Goal number 5, the UN has shown that it is committed to gender equality and strengthening women’s rights.
From January 10 to 12, representatives from politics, business, and civil society discussed the issue of gender equality at the annual conference of the United Nations Academic Council in Vienna. Bosch was among the private sector participants.
Successful women are making progress
In her keynote speech, Amina J. Mohammed, the deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, spoke of the importance of equal opportunity: “A lack of opportunity affects us all – both men and women. We must thus work together to eliminate inequality and achieve a fairer, more peaceful, and more sustainable world for everyone”. Christine Muttonen, the former president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, encouraged women to fight for their rights on the political stage. Women are in the best position to say what they need and make sure that these needs are met.
Angelika Kiessling, Head of corporate communications at Bosch Austria
Angelika Kiessling, the head of corporate communications at Bosch Austria, took part in a panel discussion, where she talked about her own career path: “To have a successful career, women must seize opportunities and clearly say what they want. Excellent performance is also decisive.” Kiessling also emphasized the importance of respect and empathy in communication – especially in times like these where companies like Bosch are undergoing major change. The focus needs to be on collaboration across disciplines and hierarchies. “An open and continuous communication across all levels is one of the major success factors for companies - especially in times of digitalization and Social Media”, Kiessling says.
Diversity is an asset
Bosch promotes a culture of diversity and appreciation, regardless of a person’s sex. Among other things, the company aims to increase its share of women in management positions to 20 percent by 2020, up from the current figure of 15.4 percent. Bosch is committed to equal pay and offers special mentoring programs for women. Moreover, the company promotes a flexible and family-friendly working culture that emphasizes results rather than workplace presence.
More information on this year’s conference of the United Nations Academic Council can be found here.
At Bosch, senior experts are an integral part of the team
While knowledge about methods and processes can be recorded for future generations, experience cannot. This is why Bosch relies on mixed-age teams with its diversity management initiatives. In so doing, the company defies convention, as senior experts – retired associates between 60 and 75 – work on projects, in which they offer their specialist and management expertise as well as their deep knowledge of the Bosch Group and its culture. Even though they are removed from day-to-day business, these experts contribute to a broader corporate goal: the aim of maintaining Bosch knowledge.
Retirees can register as senior experts at Bosch Management Support GmbH; in some cases, the request comes from a specialist department. Once they join the team, senior experts work to the same standard of quality as any other Bosch associate. When they reach the end of a project, they receive a mandatory rating from their customers, and they score 93 out of 100 points on average. At the same time, the departments are not overly concerned about costs: senior experts are paid based on their former salaries. The retirees thus feel valued and can keep their knowledge up to date.
Bosch Management Support GmbH (BMS) handles the placement of retired associates. It was founded in 1999 with 30 senior experts. Today, BMS draws on a pool of 1,500, who have a total of 40,000 years of professional experience between them. Last year, the retirees worked a total of 65,000 working days, supporting projects mainly in manufacturing and commercial areas. Two-thirds of them are specialists, while a third are executives.
More information about cross-generational cooperation at Bosch, as well as the company’s understanding of diversity, can be found here.
Bosch celebrates its fourth International Diversity Day
Eliminating prejudice is beneficial for everyone: this was the focus of the fourth Bosch International Diversity Day, which took place on May 23, 2017. Under the banner of “Discover Diversity: you are a part of it”, Bosch associates at over 200 locations around the world engaged in intensive discussions. With different activities and events that promoted dialogue, participants made a conscious effort to change perspectives, and thus learned about backgrounds, experiences, and competencies that were different from their own. In so doing, Bosch associates reflected on their own unconscious thought patterns and learned how different perspectives could enhance their daily work.
With this global event, Bosch once again emphasized that diversity is an integral part of its corporate culture as well as a condition for the company’s success. After all, the ability to see things from different perspectives gives rise to new ideas and thus enhances innovative strength at Bosch. Our picture gallery shows how the different locations celebrated the day.
Diversity in a picture: Our Vietnam locations celebrated the fourth annual Bosch International Diversity Day with a photography challenge in traditional Asian outfits. They also held workshops that addressed unconscious thought patterns.
Diversity Challenge: In Indonesia, Bosch associates took a playful approach to addressing diversity-related topics. Participants from different divisions and functional areas carried out a range of tasks accordingly.
A tight knit community: In the United States associates created a unity project, a work of art that aimed to show how closely linked people are to one another, and that everyone shares the same foundation.
Workshop in the grass: At Bosch headquarters in Germany, associates took part in the first Diversity Day Picnic, where they discussed the topics of feedback, trust, appreciation, openness, and empathy.
From B(aby Boomers) to (Generation) Z: In Thailand, Diversity Day activities focused on age. A music challenge and a diversity quiz completed the program.
In South Africa, associates discussed their personal understanding of diversity at a workshop. They also discussed ways in which they could contribute to promoting diversity themselves.
The modern father: at many locations in Japan, male associates attended a seminar on work/life balance for dads.
Girls’ Day: Bosch Rexroth sparks girls’ enthusiasm for unconventional professions
In the German states of Hesse and Bavaria, almost 70 girls recently had the opportunity to learn about soldering, welding, and cutting. On the occasion of Girls’ Day on April 27, they visited the Bosch Rexroth plants in Lohr, Erbach, or Schweinfurt, where they were shown that technical and manual professions are just as suitable for women as they are for men.
In Germany, Girls’ Day takes place each spring, and aims to spark girls’ enthusiasm for the technical professions from the fifth grade onward. Today, such jobs are still largely the domain of men. This is often because girls do not have the information or knowledge they need to be interested in technical apprenticeships or courses of study. Bosch Rexroth would like to change this state of affairs.
At the Ehrbach plant, 13 Girls’ Day participants tried out soldering irons. Under the guidance of trainer Frank Bauer and several apprentices, the seventh graders soldered a cube that is controlled by a microcontroller. They then took the finished product home with them, along with valuable insights into the “electrician for devices and systems” apprenticeship.
At Bosch Rexroth in Rohr, 35 schoolgirls visited the plant and demonstrated natural talent for professions such as industrial electrician, mechatronics engineer, foundry mechanic, cutting machine operator, and technical product designer. Moreover, 20 high school students visited the corporate units at the Schweinfurt plant, where they gathered valuable information on a broad range of apprenticeships and as well as on cooperative education programs.
Beyond Girls’ Day, Bosch is committed to promoting gender equality. By 2020, the company aims to fill at least 20 percent of management positions with women. In 2016, the figure was already 15.4 percent. The Bosch Sustainability Report 2016 describes in detail how Bosch supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5: gender equality.
The company’s LGBT network is celebrating its 10th anniversary
Ten years ago, Bosch associates joined forces to found RBg, the Bosch gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender associate network. Their aim was to make the LGBT community more visible at the company, and to promote greater tolerance and acceptance. A great deal has happened since then: today, more than 290 members in 10 countries are active members of RBg. And Bosch sponsored this year’s Christopher Street Day celebrations in Stuttgart, demonstrating the company’s commitment to promoting diversity. This sent out an important signal, says Dr. Jean-Claude Loux, a Bosch engineer and the associate network’s spokesperson.
Dr. Loux, this year’s CSD was held under the banner of “Operation Visibility”. How visible is the LGBT community at Bosch?
As a result of our involvement in events such as Christopher Street Day, it is become increasingly visible. The Bosch sponsorship was communicated through a variety of channels: there were articles on the intranet, in the associate newspaper, and on Facebook. As a result, colleagues see what we are doing and just how important diversity and the LGBT community are at Bosch. The sponsorship has helped Bosch strengthen its position, also vis-à-vis its associates. Today, Germany has the greatest RBg representation, but our network is also growing in other countries in which the topic of homosexuality is still taboo. This is mainly the result of our board of management’s clear support of our network.
How can an associate network promote greater tolerance with regard to sexual orientation?
As the network has grown, each and every one of us has become more visible. This is important, because it has contributed to making interaction with the LGBT community more natural and relaxed. Many people still associate homosexuality mainly with sex. We want to change that: after all, sexual identity is a great deal more, and shouldn’t be reduced to physicality.
What would you like to see for your community in the next ten years?
If I look around at Bosch in Germany, I can see that tolerance is widespread. But sometimes there is still a lack of acceptance. For this reason, I would like the LGBT community to be just a normal part of the Bosch community. I’d also like to reach out more to our colleagues in production as well. Since they aren’t sitting at a computer, they are more difficult for us to reach.
Thank you very much for the interview, Dr. Loux.
More information on diversity at Bosch can be found here.