B&Q is trying to encourage more women into management positions to help it respond to the tastes of its growing army of female customers.
Sue O'Neill, diversity manager, B&Q Social Responsibility, said the DIY chain had to respond to the changing nature of its customer base. "While the whole field of home improvement and DIY has traditionally been a very masculine one, we are seeing more and more women coming into our stores," she said.
In response, the company is eager to encourage more females into senior positions within B&Q.
Women currently comprise just under 50 per cent of the company's 35,000-strong workforce worldwide, but make up just 9 per cent of management positions.
"We have run informal focus groups to find out why more women choose not to develop their careers at B&Q, and have found that the lack of role models and the rather macho culture are largely to blame," said O' Neill. "The firm is now looking at ways of addressing the issues raised by the focus groups."
B&Q research shows the number of women visiting the stores has increased from 2.8 million in 1992 to 4.3 million in 2002.
In response, B&Q has started initiatives to make the organisation more 'women-friendly', such as women-only DIY clubs, which run monthly in stores.