In 1916, Boeing hired its first female employee, Rosie Farrar, who stitched together linen wings for early seaplanes. By 1918, women comprised almost 25% of Boeing’s workforce, and by 1944, that number rose to nearly 40%. To attract more women to Boeing, and support them, the company provided working moms with daycare options and shifts that allowed mothers to be at home during the day. Boeing also created a transportation department that organized ride-sharing and busing, added more breaks, and offered nutritional meals at a new cafeteria. While initially designed to attract a previously untapped workforce, these efforts helped all employees cope with the stress of work and the war.
Decades later, the largest of Boeing’s employee-led business groups, Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership, connects thousands of employees around the globe to create environments of equity, diversity and inclusion and to help position women to lead us into our next century of success. Like all BRGs, BWIL is organized around four strategic pillars: Professional Development, Business Alignment, Talent Engagement and Community Involvement. Working in collaboration with their Executive Council Sponsor, BWIL’s local chapters help recruit and retain our diverse workforce, drive innovation and serve as an important resource to help the company do business in an ever changing, equitable, global and multicultural environment. Their ambitious roster of events enable members to further their personal and professional development, seek networking, mentoring and leadership opportunities, and engage in company outreach as community advocates and leaders.