Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Women Moving Manufacturing Forward: STEP Ahead 2013 Awards

Pamela Kan, President of Bishop-Wisecarver Group, was honored this month at the annual event with 121 other women for their important roles in manufacturing. STEP Awards was established in order to honor numerous female leaders in the manufacturing industry.

“These 122 women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing,” stated Jennifer McNelly in a recently released press announcement, President of The Manufacturing Institute (MI).  “We chose to honor these women because they each made significant achievements in manufacturing through positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole.”

The STEP Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative launched by MI, DeloitteUniversity of Phoenix, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and best practices for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent.

According to this study, 51.3% of survey respondents believe that women’s under-representation in manufacturing is driven by the perception that the industry culture is biased towards men. Research through this study also showed that the concern about the stability of U.S. manufacturing is tremendous. Survey respondents ranked manufacturing #1 as a staple of the U.S. economy. However, when asked about their tendencies toward the field of manufacturing as a prospective career, many proclaimed that it is a field "...for someone else.”

Fortunately, through the advancement and promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, there is increased hope that women will have easier access to the manufacturing industry through both technical preparation, as well as through expanded awareness of the career options available within the industry.

Superseding the idea that manufacturing is a withering field will be tantamount, the Deloitte and MI study found on behalf of respondents. Recommendations for the coming years including building strong employer brands and improving the external image of the industry so that manufacturing job satisfaction for women--which generally trends high--is reflected outwardly in public reflections of the field are noted in the study.

What do you think? Weigh in on this hot manufacturing topic. Get active on Twitter using the hashtag #mfgwomen