Ford Drives Gender Inclusivity Forward
Although International Women’s Day may have come and gone, Ford is continuing to drive forward gender inclusivity efforts for the automotive industry worldwide and is seeing notable results in its Mexican plants in Chihuahua, Cuautitlan and Hermosillo.
For the past four years, Ford has been one of Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index’s 418 companies across 45 countries and regions recognized for their efforts toward inclusivity. The index analyzes companies based on their disclosing of efforts to support gender equality through policy development, representation, pay equity, culture and transparency. Ford has continuously stood out in five of the measures taken: female leadership and talent pipeline (driving women forward into senior leadership positions), equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture (through policies, benefits and programs to drive inclusivity forward), sexual harassment policies and being a pro-woman brand (throughout supply chain, products, services and external support).
“In a post-COVID-19 business environment, as a record number of women have left the workforce, it is more important than ever that companies like Ford help improve gender equality across our entire industry,” said Lori Costew, Chief Diversity Officer, Ford.
In the US, Ford offers a sabbatical program with partial pay and full benefits, increased its salaried paid parental leave and offers flexible work hours and backup childcare. Its measures for Mexico and Latin America are not far behind. According to Raquel Río Branco, Sales and Supplier Technical Assistance Director, Ford, the company has been providing opportunities to women across various Mexican manufacturing centers since the 1980s. Female participation has only been increasing since and today, 25 percent of its labor force is made up by women. Even more impressively, 40 percent of the company’s directorial board are women.
As Río Branco explained, this achievement has not been coincidental but rather the result of gender inclusive-focused recruitment efforts and the implementation of anti-discrimination policies to ensure all applications and workers are treated fairly in their various workplaces. Furthermore, mentorship programs are a fundamental strategy for the company, through which women in the industry can support one another. Automotive manufacturing and exports are some of Mexico’s largest economic contributors, explained Río Branco, so it is important to ensure the industry brings economic opportunities to people of all genders.
“When we say we are proud of our products, we are really proud of everyone who was involved in the process, and women are a fundamental element in the manufacture of three of our iconic models: Ford Bronco, Ford Maverick and Mustang Mach-E,” said Río Branco.
Ford Mexico had a strong presence in the Women Economic Forum’s 2022 edition: “Women at the forefront: normalizing a reality in the automotive industry,” held earlier this month. In attendance were Río Branco, Laura Castro, Business Solutions Director, Ford, and Ludivina Osorio, Land Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America and the Caribbean Director, Ford. These women are contributing to gender inclusivity in the industry from their own individual efforts by providing role-models and examples for young girls with a future in the automotive industry.
“Brands need to continue working on the development of women and girls, we need to influence them to study careers such as mathematics, science, technology; they should not be afraid to think that there is no place for them in the automotive industry,” said Castro.