Activities surrounding Manufacturing Day will look different this year, but many businesses, employees and communities across North America still plan to highlight the many opportunities of a career in manufacturing. This year, we’re excited to focus on careers for women in manufacturing.
Over the past several years, a number of organizations have focused on attracting women to careers in all types of manufacturing in fields as diverse as aerospace production and oil and gas. One such organization is Women in Manufacturing, which provides support to women who are building careers in manufacturing across thousands of companies and at every level of experience.
Christy Lathrop, vice president for human resources at Domtar, is a member of Women in Manufacturing and appreciates the opportunity to network and grow with female colleagues.
“In addition to the emphasis on drawing young people into the field, it’s important to offer support, mentorship and advocacy for those who are building careers in manufacturing,” she says. “Women in Manufacturing and other networks can help women at all stages advance, which also contributes to greater success in our own companies.”
What is now Women in Manufacturing began in 2010 as a female executive networking group for women in metalforming, called “Women in Metalforming.” In the 10 years since, the group has grown and expanded, both in members and industries.
With more than 4,600 members, the group comprises manufacturers of all types from a wide range of industries and welcomes individuals from every job function, from the production floor to the executive office. Both men and women working in these fields are welcome to join.
Promoting Careers for Women in Manufacturing
Despite changes to many Manufacturing Day events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, industry leaders and local manufacturers are spreading the word about their contributions to everyday life and the careers young people may consider.
Drawing young people — male and female — to careers in manufacturing often requires battling misconceptions about the industry, says Pamela Kan, president of Bishop-Wisecarver.
“Most people think manufacturing is a dying industry for uneducated men that doesn’t pay well and requires monotonous work in dark, dirty warehouses with outdated machinery,” Kan wrote last year. “That does sound awful. I wouldn’t work there either. Thankfully, the reality is the complete opposite, but these myths have become so legendary that quality workers, especially female workers, aren’t even considering this industry as a career option.”
Leandra Young, president of the North Carolina chapter of Women in Manufacturing, is among the leaders looking to change perceptions of gender in industry.
“Many women feel like you have to look, talk and act like a man to be successful,” said Young, lead receiver at Corning Optical Communications’ Newton Cable Plant, in a recent interview. “That is not required. You can be yourself — as long as you deliver results consistently.”
Learn more about careers for women in manufacturing at Domtar: