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The Power of Women in Manufacturing

To look at Twitter you might think that women working in manufacturing is something new. Tweets abound, sporting hashtags such as #MFGWomen and #womeninmanufacturing. These posts feature articles about women and posts of businesses looking to attract women to tech-based careers in manufacturing.

Women have played an integral role in the industry for decades, but walking this path has often been a lonely road. Women in Manufacturing, the only national and global trade association dedicated to providing year-round support to women who have chosen a career in manufacturing, is working to change that. Initially established in 2010 as Women in Metalforming, the organization rebranded one year later as Women in Manufacturing. Today, the organization continues to grow through memberships, programming, and partnerships throughout the world, boasting 18,000 individuals, representing more than 3,000 manufacturers.

The topic of women in manufacturing recently made news in an April Forbes article. Contributor Lisa Caldwell found that of the 12.1 million people in manufacturing (U.S. Census Bureau data), only 30% of these jobs are held by women. While these numbers represent a boost after a period of decline in the early 2000s, there is lots of opportunity for women in the industry and still work to do.

Within the industry, women are underrepresented when compared to the general workforce. In fact, there are 17% fewer women in manufacturing as compared to the general workforce. The good news is that there exists a great platform to build from now and in the future. That is bound to be buoyed by evolving perceptions of the industry.

Manufacturing has worked hard to shake perceptions of it being a dirty industry. Now, it is better known as an industry fueled by automation and technology. Tweets on Twitter emphasize the tech element of these jobs. Roles within the industry emphasize the ability to find a career with innovation, problem solving, adaptability and collaboration, according to the Forbes author.

Caldwell points out that these attributes also strongly align with what women look for in a career. This is coupled with growing awareness of the importance of manufacturing and its critical role in the supply chain. The industry is also showing more interest in incorporating teamwork and a hybrid work environment to attract new people to the industry.

This progress bodes well for the future as STEM subjects attract girls at a younger age, offering the perfect segway to build a larger female manufacturing workforce soon.

Don’t forget to join Cleveland Deburring Machine Company at the Motion Power Technology show this fall in Detroit, Michigan. The show, formerly known as Gear Expo, will take place Oct. 17-19!

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