CEO Steph Locke was listed among 30 inspiring women leading the way for youngsters of all genders to get involved in manufacturing. But why are there so few women in manufacturing, and why should we care? It all boils down to what happens when an industry is run predominantly by one demographic.
When a field lacks diversity, it is subject to narrow thinking. At best, this can result in products that don't accommodate your whole audience, like in the case of extra large phones which seem beneficial for the larger screens, but are actually too big for women's hands. Or it can lead to discrimination, like NASA's lack of small-sized spacesuits, instantly excluding 1/3 of women from ever completing a spacewalk. The problem of fewer women in industries such as manufacturing is deep-rooted in issues like stereotypes, education failures, sexism and lack of role models.
Representation is important, and so are role models, which is why The Manufacturer and Knowledge Technology Network KTN came together to showcase 30 Inspiring Women in Manufacturing. Role models are crucial in attracting women to manufacturing and engineering, showing girls that there is a place for them in the industry and that there are valid career paths for them to follow.
Delivered in 6 parts, The Manufacturer has released 5 inspiring profiles of women in manufacturing per article. Sharing stories and words of wisdom in the hopes to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
CEO Steph Locke was among the 5 inspirational women released in the fifth edition. Coming from the predominantly male world of tech, Steph has always been tuned in to gender imbalance and wasn't surprised to find the situation even more extreme in the manufacturing sector. Her advice to other women in manufacturing was:
"The need for change is very clear to manufacturers but change is hard due to a relatively low digital savviness inside manufacturers and how new AI is. Overcoming this skills gap, if you have it, helps you boost your own productivity, foster a culture of innovation, and steer strategy. Digital & AI solutions have never been easier to access and there is so much support out there to help gain these critical skills. Investing in AI tools and skills will help you and your business."
The inspirational women listed by The Manufacturer come from a range of backgrounds and industries, demonstrating that there is no one path into manufacturing, and that there are many routes you can take to a career in this sector.
For more details on the other inspirational women in manufacturing and their profiles, check out the full articles:
- Part one (Kate Barnett, Dolores Sanders, Dr Lee Caroline Kenny, Jillian MacBryde, Sarah Black-Smith)
- Part two (Rachel Eade MBE, Dr Yan Wang, Charlotte Horobin, Eser Torun, Dr Sara Ridley)
- Part three (Professor Jan Godsel, Jenny Holloway, Sarah Jardine, Katie Murray, Netty England)
- Part four (Tracey Dawson, Abigail Levin, Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez, Dr Sarah Petrie, Andrea Wilson)
- Part five (Coreen McCubbin, Suzanne Farid, Phillipa Glover, Steph Locke, Julia Moore)
- Part six (Claire Holt, Camilla Wigmore, Philippa Oldham, Kadine James, Helen Anderson)