While women account for 48 per cent of the overall Canadian labour force, only 29% of the manufacturing workforce is women, a job share ceiling that hasn't been broken for 30 years. PHOTO courtesy Honda.
The Algoma Steel and Tenaris plants in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. recently opened their doors to one hundred young female students as part of a Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) initiative to encourage more women to choose a career in the manufacturing sector.
“Despite the many career paths available in manufacturing, the industry continues to face a gender gap, with women making up only 29 per cent of the manufacturing workforce. Open door tours help inspire young women and show them that they have a place in the sector,” CME says.
Even more challenging is the fact that while women now account for 48 per cent of the overall Canadian labour force, the 29% job share ceiling in manufacturing has remained unchanged in 30 years.
The tours of Algoma Steel’s and Tenaris’ facilities gave students the opportunity to get to see the action behind the scenes of advanced manufacturing and learn more about the process of manufacturing in Ontario. Students also heard directly from manufacturing employees about their diverse experiences.
The objective of the tour was to make sure female students are empowered to pursue a career in manufacturing and STEM fields. Engaging youth is a critical component of CME’s Women in Manufacturing Initiative, that aims to increase female representation in manufacturing by 100,000 by 2023, CME says.
“Manufacturing is a diverse, exciting and rewarding career path, but we know that young women are not always aware of the opportunities available to them,” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME. Open door tours are a great way to showcase the industry and inspire the next generation of manufacturing leaders, he added.
“This is a great initiative to bring young professionals to our facility to witness manufacturing in action, see the equipment, processes and technologies used and see how our talented team brings this together at Tenaris,” said Angela Cruickshank, Human Resources Senior Director at Tenaris. “As the students saw today, we have a talented team of women at Tenaris across varied roles and there’s room for more. We encourage students to consider Tenaris in their future.”
Danielle Baker, Chief Human Resource Officer of Algoma Steel said the company was excited to give the young women a glimpse into the careers that await them in steel. “Whether in a skilled trade, finance, engineering, or quality control, there are no limits, only opportunities,” Baker said.
CME encourages all manufacturers across Canada to consider participating in open door tours and to reach out to CME to learn more about this important initiative.