iGAM is celebrating Women’s History Month this March by discussing the importance of women in the manufacturing industry.
Women’s History Month provides us with an opportunity to shine a light on women’s triumphs throughout the centuries, as well as think of ways to support women’s equality today.
In manufacturing, women make up less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce. How can we encourage women to start their careers in manufacturing?
Learn iGAM’s tips on how to provide an environment that invites and supports women below.
Supporting Women in Manufacturing
Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor and celebrate women’s struggles and successes in the journey to equality and progress.
Taking the time to acknowledge women’s historical movements and legislations is necessary to understand not only how women were treated before, but also the struggles that women still face today.
From the early suffragettes to the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and ‘70s to the #MeToo movement today, women have been advocating for their own rights—and winning.
It’s time to support women in their endeavors and encourage them to join every space, including the manufacturing industry.
The importance of women in manufacturing
Having women operators, quality assessors, engineers, managers, and more is crucial for the livelihood of the manufacturing industry.
Currently, women make up less than one-third of the manufacturing industry workforce in the United States, even though more than half of U.S. Bachelor’s degrees are earned by women.
Because manufacturing is a male-dominated industry, it can be difficult for women to feel comfortable in the warehouse.
A 2014 study revealed that only 7% of young women listed manufacturing as a field that offers opportunities for women, and a shocking 68% said they would not consider a career path in manufacturing.
These numbers reveal that, unless we make changes now, the future of manufacturing for women is bleak.
Benefits of having women in the manufacturing industry
Why is it necessary to have women in manufacturing?
By employing women, manufacturers can expect the following benefits:
- Diverse perspectives: All different kinds of people are needed in a workplace to provide diverse perspectives on the company, the customers, and the product. By having more than one perspective, positive change and growth are more likely to occur.
- Closing the skills gap: There are over two million jobs that are unfulfilled in manufacturing due to a skills gap. By hiring women, that skills gap can be reduced, if not eliminated.
- Improved problem solving: Having a more diverse workforce means having a greater supply of different thinkers who solve problems in unique ways. By having both problem-solving methods, problems are solved faster and more efficiently.
- Increased productivity: With more workers on the warehouse floor and faster problem-solving capabilities, manufacturers will see an increase in productivity.
As you can see, women add value to all areas of the warehouse, from the meeting room to the production line.
How to encourage women to apply for manufacturing jobs
In order for the manufacturing industry to gain diverse perspectives and close the skills gap, manufacturing companies need to make a greater effort to encourage women to apply to and stay in the manufacturing workforce.
First of all, manufacturing companies need to show prospective women employees that manufacturing is a viable career path for them. This can be done by:
- Featuring women employees and leaders online and in the facility
- Showcasing successful women’s experiences in the industry
- Working with educators and parents to change public attitudes around manufacturing
Additionally, more action needs to be taken if manufacturers want to encourage the next generation of women to join (and stay in) the industry.
- Offer STEM scholarships and programs, such as robotics competitions.
- Mentor high school and college students through internships.
- Provide work/life balance for women with children, such as by providing ample maternity leave and daycare programs.
- Provide women with a way to report sexual harassment in the workplace and take the reports seriously when they are received.
- Offer diversity training to all employees for a more positive, understanding, and enriching work environment.
The manufacturing industry has much to gain by encouraging women in the workplace. By taking these steps, more women will feel comfortable and supported in the warehouse environment.
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