Boeing Accelerates Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

by cdawkins

Boeing employee Frank Hatten speaks to young aviation enthusiasts at a Charleston County School District after-school program in North Charleston, South Carolina. Boeing is a long-time partner of the City of North Charleston Recreation Department and Charleston County School District, supporting its community centers and after-school programs with hands-on STEM programming led by employee volunteers. This photo was taken before COVID-19 safety precautions were in place.

By Sara Bowen, Vice President, Global Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, The Boeing Company

Last spring the world witnessed the brutal killing of George Floyd after too many Black lives before him. Through our horror and grief, we saw with stark clarity the scope and scale of racism in our society. We grappled with the reality that racial justice is still a dream deferred.

This was a national moment for introspection. We recognized that we are all part of a society that has not lived up to its highest ideals. With the leadership of our CEO, Board of Directors and senior leaders, we resolved to confront discrimination, inequities and injustice wherever we see them and accelerate our efforts to advance equity for all. We committed to put the critical work of confronting racism at the center of our efforts.

We’ve assembled a Racial Equity Task Force, comprised of teammates with diverse viewpoints and experiences, to help us on this journey. The group’s mission complements the efforts of Boeing’s business resource groups — 150 chapters across nine countries — and our Global Equity, Diversity & 
Inclusion team.

We launched a companywide dialogue about race and racism, led by teams that created space for understanding, learning and empathy to encourage candid conversations. Our business resource groups hosted events to deepen this dialogue, gathered perspectives and met with leaders to help shape our strategy. The feedback we heard was clear: As a company and as human beings, we need to confront these issues and include everyone in that journey.

We’re moving forward on a foundation of transparency. Starting this quarter, Boeing will share its diversity metrics for the first time in our history. Everyone will see that we have more work to do. And by sharing this data annually, we’ll hold ourselves accountable to improving.

We have set an ambitious goal to close the largest representation gaps for historically underrepresented groups across our company. That includes increasing the representation rate of Black employees in the United States by 20% over the next five years. We’re using science-based pulse surveys to better understand the experience of underrepresented groups so we can target our efforts and move the needle on inclusion as well as representation. Racial equity will not be achieved by checking boxes, but by focused and persistent effort by all.

We also are committed to confronting racism head-on and driving out behaviors that are contrary to our values. We have strengthened our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment and are holding people accountable for their actions.

Finally, we are working to further racial equity in our communities. Over the next four years we will build on our historical investments and provide — at a minimum — $25 million to support programs and partnerships that create opportunities for communities of color and those from other underserved communities. Last year we announced donations totaling more than $15 million to nonprofits that address racial equity and social justice in the U.S.

In November 2020, we launched a $1.5 million partnership with Allen University, an HBCU in South Carolina, to establish the 
Boeing Institute on Civility. The Institute will serve as a national hub to advance civil discourse and will equip learners across society to debate public issues with civility and respect. At a time in our nation’s history when civility is essential, the Institute will catalyze meaningful social change in the U.S. and around the globe.

Our mission to develop the safest aerospace products and services on earth requires a diverse and inclusive team. For us, this work is a business imperative – diversity is a critical driver of quality, safety and innovation. We have a responsibility to support, empower and equip the world’s best talent to reach their full potential here at Boeing. Only then may we aspire to be the world’s most diverse and inclusive company.

Achieving racial equity at our company and in our society won’t happen overnight. It will happen with steadfast commitment and action and when we come together, recognizing our shared goal of building a better, more just future for us all.

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