The Textile Services Association (TSA) is launching a series of initiatives designed to help rebalance diversity in the industry and to get more women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees into management and board positions.
Emma Andersson, membership manager of the TSA, which represents commercial laundries, said: "The numbers speak for themselves – in commercial laundries, on the shop floor, the gender balance is 50:50. At board level it's 80:20, in favour of men. The race ratio figures also are being reviewed and we expect to see a similar imbalance."
The association has established a diversity and inclusion working group and Andersson is taking a leading role in the initiative. She said: "By educating and empowering individuals, we can create an environment where everyone can thrive."
At a recent diversity and inclusion workshop, attended by directors and managers representing commercial laundries across the UK, a series of tools and strategies were discussed that could be used within their own organisations.
The workshop was led by the CBI's head of diversity and inclusion, Adeife Onwuzulike. Areas that were considered included what language to use, unconscious bias, data collection, and the need for leaders to engage in and encourage the process.
"Over 70% of the industry was represented at the workshop and the feedback has been 100% positive," says Andersson. "I am delighted that members are on-board with the initiative and acknowledge the action that needs to be taken."
Rebecca Morgan, head of human resources at Johnson's Hotel Linen and a member of the TSA's Women in the Industry Group, added: "Johnsons Hotel Linen is proud to support the TSA's project groups on women in the industry and diversity and inclusion. The TSA has recognised that, as an industry, we need to promote and encourage representation across all levels of the business. We are keen to fully support the association on this journey."
The TSA signed up to the CBI's ‘Change the Race Ratio' in November 2020 and is undertaking an industry survey, the information from which will be used to focus on areas where a positive change can be achieved.
Photo: Rebecca Morgan (left) with Emma Andersson