Paving the way for an inclusive future

Hannah, one of SPACE2B’s co-chairs, tells us about how our gender balance network hosted some video conference talks to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on 23 June this year:

“The past few months have seen us all adapt to new ways of working and keeping in touch with our colleagues. Balancing work and home life throughout the COVID-19 crisis has brought its challenges, but the lessons learnt will bring new opportunities and transform approaches to everyday life.The run-up to International Women in Engineering Day was a great platform to provide a forum to discuss topics relevant to our network’s members.

Our first talk - presented by committee members Francesca and Emma - introduced ‘Better Ways of Working Together, using inclusive Language and Behaviours’. Presenters and attendees discussed how society embeds stereotypical gender roles into everyday language, and made suggestions on simple ways of making a positive impact with the colleagues we work with.

Two more committee members – Jenny and Lesley - hosted our second talk about understanding ‘How COVID-19 will impact primary caregivers and families’. The discussion covered how the response to the virus has changed our working practices, how it has affected working parents/carers and what our network would like to see in the future as we exit the crisis.

‘Why does designing military equipment for women matter?’ was the question asked in our third talk presented by committee members Sophie and Emma. The discussion covered how challenges from wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and interacting with equipment are not exclusive to women, and how inclusive designs could solve the problem. Designers considering and adapting to the needs of an ever-evolving user population can ensure our Military Users can deliver operational capability and remain safe.

Our final talk was about ‘Achieving and maintaining a healthy work-life balance’ that was presented by our committee member Helen. The discussion covered committing to a healthy work-life balance as not only important for your wellbeing and relationships, but also in helping to improve productivity and performance at work. This session also shared tips and strategies to help attendees find the right balance.

Attendees were encouraged to continue all of these discussions about flexibility and inclusivity on our corporate social network. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we continue to support each other and provide platforms for debate and understanding.

Each talk was a great success and prompted lively discussions around inclusivity and diversity within MBDA. Part of this success has been due to the new approach, but most importantly it is thanks to the positive engagement and contributions from the membership.”

Hannah ends adding a final word of thanks: “We’re thankful to everyone who came along, got involved and supported the events. We’re proud to say this has led to increased engagement and positive feedback and we’re looking forward to what comes next.”

At MBDA, we are focused on recruiting diverse talent. We endeavour to remove gender bias from our job adverts and we have refreshed our interview training to minimise unconscious bias. We use a strengths-based assessment proven to reduce bias and achieve better hiring results. As proud members of the WISE Campaign (Women in Science and Engineering), we have worked on several initiatives with WISE to support improving gender balance within MBDA and our wider industry. We also work collaboratively on improving gender diversity with our customer community - the Armed Forces, our shareholders and the wider industry. Through our gender balance network, SPACE2B and other initiatives we are raising awareness and educating our employees, and are continually working to make MBDA an inclusive place to work.

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