The Jabil Joules team recently spoke with Jennifer McNelly, Executive Director of the Manufacturing Institute, to get her take on how to get more women in manufacturing fields. The Institute’s national STEP Ahead efforts are instrumental in recognizing women leaders in the field.
“As with any cultural shift, the move toward bringing more women into manufacturing will take positive changes at societal, industrial and individual levels,” said McNelly. “To change the perception of manufacturing careers women must lead from within their company, and within their community, be an advocate, mentor a young women and be an ambassador for manufacturing education.”
A recent article in Line. Shape. Space. covered the topic of gender parity in manufacturing and the ways in which we can encourage women to enter the industry. While women comprise 47 percent of the overall labor force, only 27 percent is made up of women in manufacturing.
According to the article, in order to achieve a more gender-diverse industry, we should begin by encouraging interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Helping women realize opportunities within STEM fields means presenting these areas to girls at a young age and reinforcing the idea that women are capable of achieving success in those careers.
The second way to encourage more women to enter the manufacturing industry is by involving the community and setting kids up for collegiate success through mentor programs that begin in high school. As applying and getting accepted into certain schools gets increasingly competitive, mentorships can help expose women to the schools and programs in support of those fields.
The last way to achieve more gender diversity is to change the perception of the industry as a whole. According to the article, changing the industry perception that only men are successful in this field–and the evolution of technology–will be key to getting more women into manufacturing.
Joanne Moretti, General Manager of Radius Innovation & Development and
Chief Marketing Officer at Jabil, says that it’s important to inform and encourage young women about the opportunities within manufacturing.
“What I’m learning in my two and a half years at Jabil, is that there are immense opportunities for women in the manufacturing world,” said Moretti. “Our uncanny ability to problem solve and our creativity make women incredibly well suited for design, manufacturing and supply chain roles, where these core strengths can be leveraged every day,” said Moretti.
Joanne goes on to explain how she encourages women to pursue STEM-related careers.
“One of the ways I encourage young women to think about careers in STEM is by mentoring and speaking at high schools; having students visit our world class Blue Sky Center and posting inspirational stories in my publication, The Butterfly,” said Joann. “Small things, even a brief conversation can help a someone make a big impact, so take time, at least once a month, to speak to a young woman on the vast opportunities found in STEM.”
Read the entire Line. Shape. Space. article click here.
To learn more about STEP Ahead and their support tools, please visit the STEP Ahead Awards website and pledge to promote the importance of a diverse workforce in the manufacturing industry.
We want to hear from you: How can you encourage more women to manufacturing careers?