Ford of Britain's commitment to equality in the workplace has earned an exceptional tribute from equal rights campaign group Opportunity Now for its industry leading position.

The business-led group's 2004 benchmarking survey, which measures the progress employers have made in ensuring equal treatment for men and women, has singled Ford out for particular praise.

It is a member of an elite group of 25 businesses awarded platinum status, an honour only bestowed on companies scoring between 95 per cent and 100 in the survey.

Ford's ability to motivate employees – everything from establishing a vision and setting goals to creating the optimum management structure – could not be bettered, scoring 100 per cent against a survey average of 81 per cent.

Its ability to turn vision into reality was also flawless. Ford scored 100 per cent for ensuring equality in recruitment, work design and redeployment and for developing equality behaviour, culture and accountability.

Monitoring of recruitment, training, promotion and pay, learning and the impact of equality action on the organisation also scored top marks.

Women have thrived in this enlightened climate, occupying senior positions in the organisation. High flyers include Monazza Khan, director of legal affairs; Maureen Graham, director of programming and distribution; Pauline Walsh, manufacturing manager at Dagenham Engine Plant; Kathryn Lees, South East district manager; Linda Carpenter, small car planning manager and Alexandra Walker, manager of powertrain manufacturing engineering.

European diversity director Surinder Sharma said: "We have only been benchmarking for three years now and this shows the impressive progress the company has made in terms of diversity issues generally, especially after receiving gold last year. We are now seen as one of the leaders in the UK, not just in manufacturing, but across the board."

Opportunity Now is a Business In The Community-led campaign that works with employers to realise the economic potential and business benefits that women at all levels contribute to the workforce.

Norma Jarboe, Opportunity Now director, said: "Ford demonstrates an outstanding commitment to women in the workplace and has shown an exceptional dedication to ensuring its working culture is inclusive and diverse. I am personally impressed with Ford’s work in this area and think that its exceptional platinum mark clearly reflects the quality of its comprehensive efforts."

Published : 31/05/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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