In both World Wars women proved their capability in manufacturing, keeping pace with the enormous demands of armaments and munitions. So why is the ratio of women still so low now?
Subsequent years saw a decline in the role of women in manufacturing. However, as this article from Gear Solutions magazine reports the last decade or so has seen a dramatic increase in the ratio – although there is a long way to go.
At around 51% of the population, women represent an enormous under-used manufacturing resource. As labour shortages have been an increasing concern to manufacturers, women may prove to be the answer to this issue and rectify the diversity in-balance within the industry.
So how do we encourage and welcome women to look at manufacturing as a career they can flourish in?
As this article in Gear Solutions magazine explains, young girls that express an interest should be given every opportunity to realise their ambition and shown that – YES this could be the career for me!
Although the article uses examples from the States the same dynamics are reflected in Australia and Europe and the times are changing.
Lori Brown, Sales Manager for IMT Forge gives her experience in the article as she compares her former job in sports education with joining manufacturing 12 years ago. Surprisingly, she found manufacturing more accepting and, over her time, has seen office staff there increase from 10 – 70%.
So things are changing, and this is reflected in education as STEM subjects are encouraged for girls at an early age.
The article suggests some initiatives that could make manufacturing more attractive to women.
- More flexibility could be an enabler possibly allowing for earlier or later starts.
- Mentoring programmes could make the switch to manufacturing less daunting.
- Communication campaigns to try and dismantle stereotypes.
- Reaching out at key decision points in the educational journey to put manufacturing on the menu as an attainable and attractive career plan.
- Aim for more diversity on the shop floor (which can be seen as a male bastion) by focus on role models that demonstrate it could be for you!
Manufacturing has to wake up to the largely untapped potential of women in the workforce to both meet their own diversity targets and to solve the problems of the labour shortage. Please view the full article here that will expand on these points.