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Cashier helping customer by the cash register in the IKEA store.

Equality at IKEA

A diverse workforce is a strength for any business. 

Over the past year, addressing gender equality and making the workplace better for people of all genders has been a priority, particularly for our IKEA Retail South Eastern Europe region. To put focus on how companies can work together to better contribute to promoting gender equality in society, IKEA Retail SEE organised three conferences in three of the capital cities, launched a communication campaign and promoted messages on equality in IKEA stores for International Women’s Day.

Under the umbrella of “Equality works better”, we brought together stakeholders from governments, civil society and other businesses to discuss the challenges that are still persistent, especially in this region, to close the gender gap. Violeta Nenita, Store Manager, IKEA Bucharest, explains:

“Equality contributes to positive change in our business and in society. By celebrating our co-workers’ differences, we not only encourage diversity, but we can also attract a wider range of talent. It helps us to create a better IKEA.”

We believe that by joining forces, we can achieve more and have greater impact on society. This gender equality forum was a great opportunity to share best practices with other companies and to learn how businesses and policy makers can work more dynamically together on this topic. One concrete output from the event was a better understanding of the needs of women in the workplace and society at large. Another outcome was the conclusion that we need to cooperate more with other companies to close the gender gap.

We want to be an example in these markets by underlining our gender balance goals, but also by how we provide equal growth opportunities and equal pay. To raise more awareness on the topic, we launched an integrated campaign with the aim of reaching co-workers, customers, the media and representatives from the public and the private sector.

The international women’s day campaign was an important way of bringing these issues into focus, but gender equality is something that needs to be pushed all year round. In some regions and markets, equality has already come a long way, but in others we still need to raise awareness and address the wider issues. Over the past few years, however, we’ve seen great progress and positive change.

“A strong commitment to gender equality from all leaders in South Eastern Europe is required to drive positive change in our society. Studies have clearly shown that gender-balanced teams have superior results, but we need to continue working much more in partnership with other businesses and organisations. This is the only way to create meaningful, long-lasting change for the many men and women.”

Stefan Vanoverbeke, Retail Manager, IKEA South Eastern Europe (Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the Ukraine)

 

Read more about our efforts and achievements in our Annual & Sustainability Summary Report for FY18.

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