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International Women’s Day 2021 – Representing inspiring Women in Industry now and forever…

International Women's Day

It is the 8th March and it’s International Women’s Day 2021!

We are always here to celebrate the success of our fellow industry peers, businesses and more but this month our focus is on the Women in Manufacturing & Engineering – giving them the recognition they deserve. We want to continue to bridge the gender gap in the sector by doing our part – representing female voices within the industry. 

Overview of UK roads

A lot has happened over the past year in many ways… A worldwide pandemic and Brexit taking most lot of headlines. If you get into the nitty gritty, it’s been a whole bunch of sadness for obvious reasons – depression and mental health being an all-time high right now. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t talk about the low subjects, the sad times as all are extremely important to talk about AS OFTEN as possible. But we are also here to share the positive stories on International Women’s Day, to share the inspirational posts and share our advice and tips to lift spirits and to say

‘there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.’ 

Focusing back on recent events taking over the news, media and online we wanted to share some positive and true female stories amongst our industry of Manufacturing and Engineering as it’s a gap in the sector’s media which isn’t covered enough – which is why we started this series… 

Women in Manufacturing is something close to our hearts – being a female-led business we feel it’s our duty to share the love and make women’s stories be heard. To represent these women and create blogs are putting their stories out there to be seen and read, which in turn is a resource as role models for young females aspiring to jump into the sectors. We all had our role models growing up, whether it was a parent, sibling, guardian or even a fictional character. But we can only aspire to be our role models if these role models are visible: and they DO exist!


But why share specifically Women’s stories in Manufacturing? 

Although it may be obvious to some, it’s a question that has been asked… we are here to educate and provide a platform after all. Women represent 26% of the Manufacturing/engineering industry – many say that the reason for this is due to the nature of the jobs being more appealing to men. However, truth be told women are just as interested but not as confident to apply. In our previous blogs we spoke to young apprentices in manufacturing as well as Women in leading roles within businesses – and all had some really valid points to make. 

A common theme was that the industry can be an intimidating environment, but once involved and progressed it wasn’t all bad and actually a positive experience in the end for our leading ladies. It’s not to say that there aren’t some changes that need to be made, for sure there could be some things in place to make women feel more included, comfortable and safe. But it’s important for us to share the positive experiences by leading Women as it inspires the up and coming and shouts: yes, you can too make it in this world! 

 

And that is why we started this series in the lead up to International Women’s Day 2021 – in hopes to encourage more Women into the sectors:

  • To show them that it’s not as intimidating as they think
  • To show that everybody can be as successful as each other when given the opportunity. 
  • To share the positive REAL experiences that women have had and to also share some of the negatives for the business owners to read and think:

“Are we sharing best practice with equality and providing a workplace fit for women too? Do we need to change some of our ways and reconsider our approach?”


In February 2021 Marie Claire released an article titled ‘We can’t believe that Female Engineers are being told this everyday

“In an effort to bring attention to the gender inequality in STEM and to improve working conditions for the women in the industry, oil company Shell spoke to female engineers, asking them to recall some of the shocking things that are said to them on a daily basis.” 

Article by Marie Claire
Female Engineers

Other female engineers recalled being told, “You don’t want to be an engineer – that’s a man’s job“, while another was asked, “Why doesn’t your husband just let you stay home?

Article by Marie Claire

Still even in 2021 we have a way to go within the industry to drop the prejudices…

It’s this environment that unfortunately lets the industry down, as the UK should be proud of what we achieve, the manufacturing, engineering and industrial sectors provide a huge role in the growth and continued running of our country – we are the 9th largest manufacturing nation in the world and we should all be setting an example for the future generations. 


Why is it that Women aren’t applying for Manufacturing or Engineering roles? 

We’ve touched upon how there is a need for representation in the media, news and articles to be seen and researched but also a key factor is the education system. A lot of the paths we take in our lives begin from a young age when we attend school, what do we learn about? What are we encouraged to do?

This is my experience: 

Shannon

In 2020 I started my apprenticeship in Digital Marketing however my background is different to the sector I now work in. I am 26 this year and I never ever thought that I would be going back into doing an Apprenticeship! My background is in the Arts, having a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art which I achieved back in 2017.  

Over the years I realised that Marketing was of interest; I enjoyed the digital side of art by creating content however the job market today requires a minimum of 2 year’s experience. I found it near impossible to secure a role in the line of work I so desperately wanted; having freelance graphic designed for projects and continually working on my skills and knowledge, but this simply isn’t enough. Higher Education is put onto us as school students – ‘the path that leads to success’. However, this isn’t always the case.

The Manufacturing Industry just weren’t a sector I had considered working within before; not because I weren’t interested but simply because I weren’t aware.

Looking over it all now, I truly believe that the lack of women representation in Manufacturing and their apprenticeships is the awareness; Schools and Higher education should show the potential of STEM roles as well as the many departments of Manufacturing you could be a part of; to make the term ‘Manufacturing Industry’ more approachable and enticing.

As I play an important part to HanaTech, I have learnt so much already and how vital our industry is to the world – it would be a huge step forwards if more women could see this too. Although my role in the Manufacturing world is in Marketing and not in a physical role, I get a huge opportunity to do some good and make a difference – All we need are opportunities. 


Teacher in school

There is definitely a need for schools & colleges to talk more about the different kinds of roles women can go into within the industries as the range is vast! There is a need to encourage young women that may say ‘oh, I am interested but I’m not sure…’ – to go for it! The more we widen our perspectives of what roles are deemed as ‘gender specific’ when in reality, anybody could achieve the same success when given the chance.  

The Guardian wrote an article in 2020 titled: We need to show girls that engineering is exciting: how role models can light a spark

As perfectly worded, role models really do light a spark. We all need inspiration and motivation a lot more than we even realise:

report by Microsoft found that more than 50% of females aged 11-30 said they were interested in working in the Stem sector. But, as the saying goes, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. The study of 11,500 girls and women across 12 countries discovered that girls were much more likely to consider a career in Stem if they had a visible role model.

Article by The Guardian

The pace of change is still disappointingly slow for BAME women in engineering, and that employers should be showcasing more diverse role-models. “However, the good news is that for women who do stay with it, engineering is a great career that consistently shows higher than average earnings and higher than average levels of job satisfaction.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Over the past year the shift in job roles as been drastic due to a lot of roles being made redundant, or simply changing due to the pandemic. The technology sector has risen and the demand for STEM roles are higher than ever before. This International Women’s Day and beyond we know what we need to do to make change and we at HanaTech will continue to do our part in representing women in Manufacturing and STEM roles – One positive story at a time. 


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