Does the packaging Industry Treat Women Equally?
Although it perhaps isn’t always readily apparent. Most sectors of the packaging industry are dominated by a few, very large, players and so there are few high profile positions available. At the next level there are women managing, in some cases multiple, manufacturing sites. However, it remains the case that the majority of women in the industry tend to be concentrated in areas such as customer service, sales and packaging technology.
Like many manufacturing industries, it is the lack of applicants rather than discrimination which is driving this.
From our experience it is clear that the industry is promoting on merit; so perhaps the real question is whether the packaging industry is doing enough to make itself attractive to all of the available talent.
With the general media so relentlessly anti packaging perhaps the industry should do more in terms of PR to highlight the value of packaging and the genuine innovation that is part and parcel of the industry (no pun intended!)
What about female board quota?
I recently read the account of a woman in an allied industry (print) who had suffered a catalogue of insult, discrimination and harassment over a career spanning more than 25 years from the early 1980’s.
The treatment she suffered, grinning, bearing and getting on with it, was as dreadful as it was illegal and speaks to an ingrained culture of male chauvinism. And yet in over 12 years working in the print and packaging industries I have not suffered anything more than being called “love” and “dear” , by, to prove I can be as patronising as they can, I shall call a few “old boys”. It goes to show there is good and bad everywhere.
Against this background the EU has come up with proposals to dictate a quota of 40% female company board members for public companies. Should these proposals go ahead it could be quite an upheaval for UK and Ireland based packaging companies. Brief research shows that at least five of the major packaging groups, and there aren’t that many, are without a single female board member.
The question is: does it matter? In the aftermath of the financial crisis much was made of the aggressive male dominated culture and that perhaps things would have been different had women been in charge. I have to say from my practical experience there is no discernable difference that can be attributed to gender in the management style of female senior mangers or directors.
Maybe there should be more females in senior positions, for that matter maybe boards and senior management should be more diverse generally. However the bottom line is that companies that aren’t successful will fall by the wayside and the successful companies make best use of talent in whatever shape it comes.