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March 12, 2007

EOWA Recognizes Ford Australia As An Employer Of Choice For Women

Ford_oval Raise your hand if you live in Austrailia... anyone? Anyone? Ford Australia has been acknowledged as an Employer of Choice for Women by the Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).

The citation recognizes the efforts undertaken by Ford to create a female-friendly workplace through the removal of obstacles to employment and advancement, and also tailor work-life balance solutions for individual employees where possible.

(As a woman who has spent more than 20 years in a carguy's world, I can say thanks on behalf of all those Aussie ladies.)

"The automotive industry has long been considered a male domain, and we have been working to dismantle this stereotype through the implementation of a range of equal-opportunity policies," said President of Ford Australia, Tom Gorman.

"This award is recognition of the equal-opportunity framework in place at Ford and demonstrates our commitment to the EOWA workplace act. Women now fill a diverse range of roles across the organization, including representation as department heads, in senior management roles and at Vice-President level. It's important to the future of our business to be able to retain these talented employees."

In addition to removing obstacles to employment and advancement, Ford actively works with employees to find the right balance between work and home-life responsibilities.

"We look at all employee applications on a case by case basis, and this flexibility allows us to evaluate individual needs and work together to determine the best possible outcome. Many situations involve solutions that require us to think outside the square," said Mr Gorman.

"For example, there are a number of women who have returned to Ford following maternity leave and now work flexible hours, and another employee who telecommutes from her base interstate. This arrangement allows her to fulfill her family responsibilities and also allows Ford to retain her skills and expertise.

(When I took time off four years ago to deliver my youngest son, my then-boss worked hand in hand with me to allow me a flexible return to work. While our company didn't have an official flex-hour policy, we staggered vacation days and work days to allow me to return on a part-time basis while weaning my little one. For a short time, I brought the infant to the office with me. He even installed locks on my door to allow me to pump breast milk in the privacy of my own office.) Unfortunately, not all employers or supervisors are as open-minded as he was, and once the HR department caught wind of our workarounds I had to return to a 'normal' situation.)

"It's a win-win situation, as our employees have security knowing Ford is an organization which understands and cares about their needs."

Ford's equal-opportunity policy has also created many benefits for the organization.

"The policy strengthens our relationship with female employees and we've found those who have experienced the policy to be happier, more productive and have improved morale. Put simply, we have a better partnership," said Mr Gorman.

Mr Gorman said the award would be highlighted on a global level to the rest of the Ford Motor Company.

"We are particularly proud of this citation as it is public acknowledgement of the efforts that Ford has undertaken in equal opportunity for women."

(yay, Ford!)

--by Brandy A. Schaffels

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