Changing Workforce / STEM Education / Career Development

Perspective: Increasing the ranks of women in manufacturing

By Pamela Kan, Bishop-Wisecarver, for Area Development

Jun 13, 2018

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As a woman who runs a second-generation manufacturing and engineering company, I am a bit of an anomaly — a disruption to the normal pattern we tend to classify as “manufacturing.” One of my professional and personal goals is to change that notable distinction and, to that end, I talk with students, parents, educators, government officials, and colleagues to learn, brainstorm, and engage in efforts that will make a difference.

It’s an exciting time to be in U.S. manufacturing as the industry is experiencing incredible growth, supports 17.6 million jobs, is considered the world’s eighth-largest economy, and provides above-average salaries. Yet, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) notes that while women represent nearly half of the total U.S. labor force (47 percent), they comprise less than a third (27 percent) of the manufacturing jobs. These low overall numbers translate to low numbers of women in leadership positions within the manufacturing industry. Not-for-profit organization Catalyst noted in 2016 that women working in the U.S. manufacturing durable goods sector represent only 5 percent of CEOs and 20 percent of executive officers.

Read the full perspective at
See also: "Putman Media announces its inaugural class of Influential Women in Manufacturing."