Volkswagen’s first female car-makers’ union has confirmed its first female members, with one saying the move is “the beginning of a new chapter”.
The female car manufacturers’ union (VWFC) has confirmed the first female workers will be hired as part of a factory upgrade, the first time any female workers have been hired at the global carmaker’s North America headquarters.
The VWFC, which is headed by Angela Merkel’s sister, Gerda, and whose membership covers the Volkswagen brand, confirmed it had hired a female engineer.
“The VW brand has always been known for its commitment to diversity, and to women and women-friendly technology, and we’re delighted to have been part of this important project,” the union’s president, Margareta Dall’Oglio, said in a statement.
VW has been under pressure to hire more female workers after reports of sexist behaviour at the North American plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the company has more than 100 factories.
In 2015, a study commissioned by VW found that female employees were twice as likely as their male counterparts to be harassed, discriminated against or treated unfairly by co-workers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, centre, and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz listen to German Chancellor Angela of the Netherlands speak during a news conference at the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany.
More: VW’s US operations have been closed since the Chattanooga plant fire, with about half of the company’s workforce expected to be laid off.
But VW, which has more production and maintenance sites than any other automaker in the world, has resisted calls to hire women and has resisted public pressure to do so.