New podcast chat: Women exploring careers in manufacturing

March 8, 2024
In this episode of Great Question: A Manufacturing Podcast, guests Adrianna Swift and Elizabeth Parra discuss what it’s like to be a woman in industry in 2024.

Adrianna Swift is an engineer at instruments manufacturer Endress+Hauser. Elizabeth Parra is a process engineer at Subaru's plant in Indiana. Both women recently spoke with Anna Smith, who is news editor for IndustryWeek, a sister publication to Smart Industry, about what it’s like to be a woman working in the industrial sector.

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To learn more about Adrianna and her experiences in manufacturing, read "Why apprenticeships, outreach, diversity speak to the next generation of manufacturing leaders."

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Women now account for 29% of the manufacturing workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. NAM'S own Manufacturing Institute has launched a campaign, 35x30, to boost women's share of the industrial workforce to 35% by 2030.

Also according to NAM, one of the biggest challenges faced by women in manufacturing is gender discrimination. Women are often paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same job, and they are typically given fewer opportunities for advancement.

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Other stakeholders, such as the national Women in Manufacturing trade association, with 24,000 members (almost 10% of whom are engineers like Swift and Parra) representing 2,800 manufacturing companies, urge industrials in their recruiting messages to convey that their firm offers an environment attractive to women and to back that assertion up with organization-specific examples. WiM runs a career center for women seeing work in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

If you’d like to meet Parra and hear her speak, sign up for IndustryWeek's Operations Leadership Summit, of which Smart Industry will be a part. The event will feature plant tours of the Subaru facility in LaFayette, Indiana, and Endress+Hauser's Indianapolis campus.

About the Author

Scott Achelpohl

I've come to Smart Industry after stints in business-to-business journalism covering U.S. trucking and transportation for FleetOwner, a sister website and magazine of SI’s at Endeavor Business Media, and branches of the U.S. military for Navy League of the United States. I'm a graduate of the University of Kansas and the William Allen White School of Journalism with many years of media experience inside and outside B2B journalism. I'm a wordsmith by nature, and I edit Smart Industry and report and write all kinds of news and interactive media on the digital transformation of manufacturing.