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Boeing takes stance against racism, releases internal diversity statistics

written by Hannah Dowling | May 3, 2021
Boeing corporate logo. (Boeing)
Boeing corporate logo. (Boeing)

Boeing has announced it has fired 65 employees in the last 10 months over racist, discriminatory or otherwise hateful conduct, as shareholders push for greater accountability following recent social justice movements.

CEO Dave Calhoun said that Boeing has taken a “zero-tolerance approach to behaviour that is contrary to our values”.

“There is no place for hate within our company, and we will keep expecting the best from everyone in their interactions with one another,” he said.

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Simultaneously, the company also released its first report showing the demographic breakdown of its workforce, which showed that 69 per cent of its US-based workforce was made up of white employees, with 14 per cent of its workforce being Asian, 7 per cent Hispanic, and 6.4 per cent African American.

Boeing has previously said it aims to increase its African American workforce to 20 per cent of its total workforce.

Meanwhile, women make up 23 per cent of Boeing’s US operations, including 17 per cent of its engineers, 14 per cent of its production and maintenance workforce, and 13 per cent of its executive council.

A year ago, women made up 30 per cent of its executive council, with this significant drop largely thanks to changes in the internal structure of the council.

In March 2020, the council was made up of 13 executive members, four of which were female, whereas today the council is made up of 22 members, with three female executives.

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The information was collated and shared by Boeing for the first time, as shareholders across the US have been pushing for greater accountability in relation to race and gender in light of recent social justice movements, including Black Lives Matter and Me Too.

“As we have witnessed horrific images in the news and heard heartbreaking stories from our people, our determination to advance equity, diversity and inclusion has only become stronger,” said Calhoun.

“It is clear we have an opportunity to be a force for change within our walls and in our communities — and we are taking an important step forward today.”

Calhoun said that Boeing’s diversity makeup was “on par with the aerospace industry”, however “we are not where we want to be”.

“That is why the report sets specific aspirations we’re working to achieve and outlines the actions we are taking to make progress,” he said.

Calhoun also highlighted that since the middle of last year, when the Black Lives Matter protests were at their peak, the company has “reinforced our commitment to root out racism and invest in equity and racial justice inside and outside Boeing”.

“This work is a business imperative for us, because diversity and inclusion make us better in every way; when everyone has a voice, everyone is inspired to succeed together,” he said.

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