Women at the Wheel: Girls’ Day at Bosch

Science

Female students are given a guided tour around the Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Ltd. site in Maklár.

Photo by Bosch.

For the 11th time, Bosch welcomed young women interested in science and technology to its annual Girls’ Day, held across four locations. This event provides insights into automotive innovation and production, emphasizing Bosch’s ongoing attempts to promote female participation in these fields through targeted mentorship, training programs, and community engagement.

The day also reflects broader market trends where value and reliability, such as those offered by warranted consumer electronics, remain highly sought after. Bosch says the four venues that offered young women an in-depth look into automotive innovation and production were strategically chosen.

Notably, at Bosch’s Maklár facility (120 km northeast of Budapest by road), young women interested in the sciences and technologies were given the unique opportunity to explore the complexities of vehicle part manufacturing.

Bosch says this initiative highlights its strong commitment to fostering female talent, demonstrated through its investment in mentorship programs that connect seasoned professionals with emerging innovators, comprehensive training sessions to enhance skills and broaden knowledge, and the creation of dynamic community engagement opportunities that promote networking and professional growth.

Many young girls, despite having the necessary talent and an eagerness to explore research and development, information technology, or the automotive sector, frequently hesitate to pursue careers in these areas, which are perceived as predominantly male-oriented. This reluctance often stems from a significant lack of accessible information or the continued prevalence of outdated stereotypes.

Women in Science

The national Girls’ Day initiative, led by the proactive Women in Science Association, is a direct response to this challenge. It aims to capture the attention of middle and high school girls, steering them toward the considerable potential in the natural sciences, technology, engineering, and information technology, especially for those who may not have previously considered such professional paths.

In this year’s iteration, Bosch hosted participants at its Budapest Innovation Campus (at Robert Bosch utca 14 in Pest’s District X) and its Hatvan (57 km northeast of the capital) and Miskolc (188 km northeast) facilities, in addition to those in Maklár.

Attendees had the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the latest manufacturing processes, showcasing the forefront of modern engineering and technological advancements. Additionally, they were presented with various female career paths within the industry, illustrating the opportunities available for women in these dynamic sectors.

Within the secure premises of the Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Ltd. site in Maklár, a group of young women with a keen interest in science and technology were given a detailed tour of the manufacturing processes for critical vehicle components, such as steering gears, steering columns, and steering shafts produced utilizing advanced digitalization and artificial intelligence technologies.

This year, the participants observed the detailed production and assembly of Servocom units—critical to commercial vehicle steering mechanisms—operated by highly automated machines finely tuned to function under the close supervision of human operators, ensuring an effective integration of technology and manual control.

Additionally, the young women saw firsthand the vital roles of product inspectors, metrologists, and materials testing professionals, who conduct various functional tests, 3D measurements, and diverse material testing processes, including advanced X-ray technology.

Complex Processes

Throughout the tour, Bosch’s staff at the Maklár site, including many women who have established successful careers in these traditionally male-dominated fields, showcased the complex manufacturing processes with professionalism and dedication.

“Diversity is the engine of innovation: it introduces new perspectives, infuses fresh talent, and stimulates boundless creativity,” said Michael Zink, the Maklár plant manager for Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Ltd., during an address at the Girls’ Day event.

“A significant portion of our workforce, exceeding 30%, comprises women, and it is noteworthy that nearly a quarter of our leadership roles are occupied by women. I take immense pride in their influential contributions, which have been pivotal to our factory’s success over its more than two decades of operation,” he added. One of those leaders was also at hand to share her thoughts.

“We are committed to providing extensive support to women who are eager to advance their careers within our company,” commented Henrietta Bekényi, HR group leader at Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Ltd.

“It’s crucial that we expose young people to the thrilling realm of innovation, research, and development from an early age. Our involvement in dual education programs, support for academic competitions at schools and universities, and opportunities for internships and summer jobs are all part of our initiative,” she explained.

“We are thrilled to participate in the Girls’ Day program, showcasing the attractive career opportunities within automotive development and encouraging young women to consider these paths,” Bekényi concluded.

Women@Bosch: Providing Support and Opportunities for Growth

At the core of Bosch Group’s corporate strategy is a profound commitment to diversity, the company says. This goes beyond mere rhetoric and is supported by numerous studies showing that companies with a diverse leadership team of men and women tend to create more dynamic workplaces and achieve greater business success.

Research further supports that mixed-gender teams at all company levels are more innovative and tend to produce superior products and services, highlighting diversity’s vital role in enhancing problem-solving capabilities and fostering creativity.

Bosch has implemented specific programs like the Business Woman and Female Talent mentoring initiatives to strengthen the professional development of women within the company. These programs provide targeted training sessions, workshops, and ongoing learning opportunities to empower women to advance their careers.

These efforts are supported by Bosch’s commitment to a flexible and family-friendly work culture, which is crucial for supporting women through various career stages. The company says it has adopted policies and practices that accommodate unique life situations and help maintain a balance between professional duties and personal life, with particular consideration for supporting mothers returning to work.

Furthermore, the globally and nationally active Women@Bosch network acts as a platform for promoting female career development. This self-organized community creates an environment where women can participate in presentations, discuss, and share personal experiences and insights. The network plays a vital role not only in motivating women to advance in their careers but also in cultivating a culture of inclusivity and mutual support within the company.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of May 6, 2024.

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