Women Could Fill a Void in Manufacturing
With 80 percent of American manufacturers currently having trouble filling open positions in an economy with a nine percent national unemployment rate, what are we to do?
Attracting more women to an industry with a prior image of being dull, dirty and dangerous may be the answer, according to a guest editorial by Gretchen Zierick that ran in the November 18 issue of Manufacturing & Technology News.
The American workplace, although it still has a long way to go, has made great strides towards providing equal opportunity for women; today they account for 49 percent of the total workforce. However, only 30 percent of the 14 million Americans employed in manufacturing are female.
Why the shortfall?
Zierick points to a recent survey by Bayer that indicates that some of the top reasons include a lack of quality science and math education programs, as well as persistent stereotypes that say careers in science, technology, engineering and math are not for women. This is the case, she says, “despite the fact that elementary school girls are earning higher grades in math and science than are boys.”
In order to attract women to fill these open positions in manufacturing, perceptions around women’s capabilities and manufacturing as a whole need to change.