It’s International Women’s Day 2022 and here at The manufacturerwe are excited and proud to support women in the industry and all the amazing things they do.
International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated annually on March 8 around the world, aims to recognize the achievements of women and strengthen equality. This year’s campaign theme is #BreakTheBias and there’s a pose to go with it too:
For my own post, I wanted to explain the change, which I’ve certainly witnessed over the years (although more is needed).
My own experience with women in manufacturing
When I was a kid in the 80’s, my father had a small manufacturing company — a Westland Helicopters spin-off that manufactured industrial doors. I vividly remember visiting dad at work and walking around the factory. Oddly enough I used to love the smell and the dirt and had to use Swarfega to clean my hands after every visit.
But what I didn’t notice at the time was that every single employee in the workshop was male. As a child of eight, that reality just didn’t register and just seemed to be the norm. Fast forward to today, however, and I can see how male-dominated my father’s business was (and probably a lot of others liked it back then).
But even if the manufacturing industry has made great strides and more women are now part of it, we are not there yet. In fact, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), women make up just 37% of manufacturing workers.
Nonetheless, it is so refreshing and encouraging to see how many manufacturing companies have changed over the years. Just yesterday I spoke to Laura McBrown and Kate Sharp, two sisters who took over management of G&B Electronic Designs Ltd from their father in 2015. It was so impressive to hear firsthand their passion for making and learning they have a 50/50 gender segregated workforce at G&B.
For me, the key is to do whatever it takes to break the industry stereotype and encourage more young girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. Many manufacturing facilities today are a far cry from the way I knew them as a kid. They are modern workplaces full of technology and incredible innovation — Places that would have amazed me when I was younger.
By highlighting that manufacturing isn’t just dirt and dirt anymore, and showcasing the amazing women who are doing incredible things in the industry, I believe we can break through the bias and get even closer to achieving true gender equality.
This is how you can participate in this IWD
Whether it’s changing your profile picture on social media so that one of you strikes the IWD pose, or just spreading the key messages, there are a number of ways you can get involved in this IWD.
A good place to start is on the IWD website and in particular the “Participate” submenu. Also, be sure to include the hashtags #BreakTheBias and #IWD2022 in all social media posts.
Finally, if you are a manufacturer, look around your workplace and see how many women are there. Are you actively trying to address the imbalance in the industry? Hopefully…
*Header image courtesy of Shutterstock