Today is International Women's Day, which is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also sets out to draw particular attention to the importance of gender parity. As an organisation, VITO both subscribes to and acknowledges the importance of taking action on a broad front in order to promote diversity and inclusion and freedom from discrimination.
International Women's Day is the day on which we commemorate a strike that took place on 8 March 1908 in New York, which was the first large-scale strike that formed part of the emancipation movement. This strike marked the beginning of women's emancipation and of the fight to end discrimination against women.
Since then, many positive changes have been taken place in the society in which we live. Nowadays however, we are being confronted by new challenges and it is extremely relevant to devote some attention to the topic of "diversity" in the broader sense. We only have to think of how many times reports have referred to the so-called "glass ceiling" and we must not forget the need for minority groups to become integrated and the need to take steps to prevent discrimination during job application procedures.
What action is VITO taking?
Last year, VITO was awarded the "HR Excellence in Research" hallmark. One of the requirements in that regard was to subscribe to the "Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers" by incorporating a safeguard into our recruitment processes in order to prevent discrimination. Recently, VITO also signed up to the "Belgian SDG Charter" of the "UN Sustainability Goals" of 20 January 2017, in which we issued the following declaration:
"VITO is dedicated to further build on a fair and inclusive work environment with a diverse workforce. Through our company culture, value set and leadership, we strive for a positive attitude towards diversity and embrace diversity as an asset for innovation. We will support this culture with a wide set of positive actions, amongst learning and development, recruitment and selection, ‘FIT@VITO’ and well-being. We have an explicit commitment in the “HR Strategy for Researchers”, what resulted in the label 'HR Excellence'"
This statement is not new, of course, but we are convinced that we can still do better and will therefore continue taking action at all levels.
Agnes Bosmans, Director HR & General Services at VITO: "Every person is unique... in terms of their gender, skin colour, creed, sexual orientation and nationality. History has taught us that no positive effects result from excluding or discriminating against certain groups within society. What is more, however, the differences that exist between people actually represent added value in themselves. It is actually by endeavouring to increase diversity that we are able raise our society up onto a higher plane. At VITO, we firmly believe that the power of diversity will help us make a genuine difference in the future and will help us produce innovative solutions that will have an impact on society."