Biffa's IWD photo campaign changes perception of women in the waste collection industry
Waste collection is at the forefront of the waste management industry and with over 90% of front line employees being male, the waste industry is seen as a male domain. The waste industry is, however, changing both in operation and perception.
For International Women's Day, Biffa wanted to recognise the women and men embracing change and amplify the company's support for women's career advancement in the waste industry. They chose to do this via an exciting company-wide photo campaign that would see significant employee engagement.
And the outcome was impressive (as pictured above).
Over 50 photos of staff posing for a #BalanceforBetter ensued
In the lead up to IWD, Biffa asked its employees to take a photo of themselves striking the #BalanceForBetter pose to reinforce their support of gender equality.
Biffa received an outstanding response from employees. Many of the company's women also offered their thoughts about how Biffa has gone beyond their expectations in supporting work-life balance or training for career progression.
Celebrating real people behind the brand committed to equality
Biffa collated around 50 photographs including Biffa’s CEO Michael Topham and posted social cards to Biffa's Twitter page to celebrate the women working at Biffa. The activity received many positive responses from friends, families, colleagues and industry.
The photographs were compiled into a highly impressive and creative form that features a collage of images to make the Biffa logo.
This is a visual reminder that behind the brand, there are many people who are committed to equality who support customers on a daily basis and are forging positive change in the waste industry.
Regional account Manager Gill Mulroe promotes gender equality
Following the success of Biffa's IWD campaign, women throughout the company wanted to know how they could encourage further women to consider a career in waste management and how they could show recognition for those providing unbeatable service to their customers.
To support this, Regional Account Manager for Biffa’s Yorkshire region Gill Mulroe participated in an interview with CIWM, a professional body for the waste management industry. She discussed her daily routine at Biffa as details regarding her role as a CIWM councillor. She acknowledged more could be done through social and broadcast media to celebrate women in the waste industry and to add a human dimension to the field, and openly encouraged more women to consider a role in the waste management industry.
Biffa also published an article on its own company website about why women should consider a career in waste management. The article highlighted statements from women working at Biffa and in the waste industry in general. The women were a traffic dispatch officer, a driver and an environmental manager.
In article Gill describes how the waste industry has developed throughout the years and introduced steps to encourage more women to join this booming sector and reverse the conception that it’s an ‘all boy’s club’. “Few women see this sector as an attractive career causing a real workplace gap. There have been some real changes over the years and some small positive steps forward through bridging the equal pay gap ensuring equal pay and an introduction to introducing equality and inclusion training within some workplaces," commented Gill.
In regards to the misconception that the waste industry is little more than the collecting and dumping of rubbish, she explained “The landscape of the waste industry has changed very quickly over the last few years, and we have made some real sustainable achievements around landfill diversion, recycling, and closed-loop solutions. This industry is committed to investing heavily in innovation to adapt to this rapidly changing landscape. This is what makes this sector brilliant to work in.”
Working to solve gender inequality beyond IWD
Biffa's IWD activity raised awareness throughout the whole organisation by highlighting professional women who deserve greater recognition in their field - and continue to do so in their ongoing tenacious journey for gender equality.
Meanwhile the world sees many exciting #BalanceforBetter photographs
Here are just a few.
Activists participate in a walk to mark International Women’s Day organized by the Aurat Foundation in Peshawar in Pakastan.
Students from the University of Sargodha in Pakistan participate in an International Women’s Day walk.
BeadforLife and Street Business School in Uganda ran a series of inspiring stories of women making a positive difference for women in their communities.
Springwood State High School in Faulconbridge in the Australian state of New South Wales celebrated IWD with a morning assembly followed by a school-wide photography campaign that saw students and staff embracing the #BalanceforBetter message.
BBC Africa's 'Focus On Africa' radio team delivered special coverage on issues affecting women on the continent and asked their audiences 'What are you doing today to help build a more gender balanced world?'
Students, faculty, staff and friends of Stephens College in Missouri in the United States celebrated the IWD theme of #BalanceforBetter and helping to promote equality by posing by the campus Sursum statue. With her arms raised in hope, the statue provided the perfect setting for reinforcing the need for a #BalanceforBetter.
And, across the internet, there were many thousands of engaging and insightful IWD panels discussing the #BalanceforBetter campaign theme, what action helps forge women's equality, and industry examples of success - like this event at Opentext in Ontario.
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