The important role of women in manufacturing is an issue that the Manufacturing Leadership Council has highlighted many times over the last few years, most recently in a dedicated open debate for Council members in September 2013, and summarized in a special Roundtable article in the Manufacturing Leadership Journal: Do Women Want to be Manufacturing Leaders?
A number of initiatives are now underway to help recognize and promote the valuable contributions women are making to the manufacturing sector and to encourage more women to enter the manufacturing profession.
- Early next month the Manufacturing Institute will honor 160 female professionals from 110 manufacturing companies with Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Awards. These awards recognize the achievements of women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers at all levels in the manufacturing industry - from the plant floor to the boardroom.
- A new collaborative initiative called Million Women Mentors is launching an ambitious effort to engage one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors – both male and female – to help increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers. The new group has already signed up 40 partner organizations and 13 corporate sponsors including Accenture, Cisco, Sodexo, Tata Consultancy Services, Microsoft Research, Walmart, ADP and General Motors.
"We have the responsibility as a country to move the needle on girls and young women in STEM careers from 24 percent of our current workforce to 50 percent," said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector and co-founder of Million Women Mentors.
Expect more focus on women in manufacturing throughout this year, including a special Women in Manufacturing Panel session at the 2014 Manufacturing Leadership Summit, June 4-5 2014, in Palm Beach, Florida.
Written by Paul Tate
Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive