The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters marks
International Women’s’ Day 2018 with the inaugural
Women in Manufacturing Success Forum.

As a celebration of the success of women in manufacturing, the Women in Manufacturing Success Forum will be the first event of its kind to give women a platform to share their experiences with female peers, and an environment in which mentorships and community-building can be developed. In the same stroke, the event offers business leaders a venue to transform those experiences into tools and goals for building increasingly diverse and inclusive workplaces.

The Women and Manufacturing Success Forum follows the introduction of CME’s Women in Manufacturing Working Group by CME National Board Chair Rhonda Barnet last March.  Shortly after the announcement, Rhonda spoke with BNN host Michael Hainsworth about a few of the challenges driving the initiative. Key among these, only 10% of women in manufacturing are considered to be in the skilled labour force, a “staggering” number in Rhonda’s opinion, and one that does little for efforts to close the gender-based wage gap. “The average skilled worker in manufacturing is making about $75,000 a year and only 10% of that pool is women.”

The most formidable challenge however, may be the image of manufacturing, “Manufacturing now, it’s advanced manufacturing, it’s technology. We have very clean, bright plants with very interesting environments, very technical environments and collaborative environments, all of these play to the strengths of women,” says Ms. Barnet. As such an historic industry, the perception issue is a deeply-rooted one, and to be successful will need to be worked at from every level. Building bridges between manufacturing and young women, as early as grades 1,2 and 3 will be crucial, as will continuing support as they move through the educational stream, and into their career paths.

In recent years, many large Canadian manufacturers have made great strides in gender diversity and inclusiveness, and while keen to share that experience, lacked an appropriate venue to do so. The Women in Manufacturing Success Forum will be the first step in bridging that gap, and promises to bring a wealth of knowledge to manufacturing SMEs.

The Women in Manufacturing Success Forum runs March 8 at the University Club in Toronto. For more information, click here…

screen capture of Rhonda Barnet during her interview with BB on-air host, Michael Hainsworth

To view the full interview, The push for more women to pursue manufacturing careers on, click here…