Canadian women manufacturers joined together at the Canadian Manufactures & Exporters (CME) from March 7th to 10th in Toronto, ON. The association’s sixth annual Women in Manufacturing Success Forum invited women in the sector to consider future industry careers, provided a platform for current female leaders in the workplace, and empowered them during the virtual event.
The CME has been advocating for women manufacturers in the sector for years. The organization’s mission is to increase the number of manufacturer roles held by women by 100,000 by 2030 to bring the total number of jobs held by women in the sector to 600,000 in 2030. Currently, women make up almost half of the country’s workforce, however, they only occupy 29% of the manufacturing industry. “The transition to net-zero and digitalization is expected to create new jobs that will require upskilling and reskilling to prepare our workforce,” said Dennis Darby, president, and CEO of CME. “So, our work is clearly not over. We appreciate the federal government’s focus on making childcare more affordable and accessible. At the same time, we ask that Ottawa also focus on renewing and increasing funding programs to encourage more underrepresented groups to seek opportunities in manufacturing.”
“We need to remove the old stigma associated with manufacturing and show people how innovative the sector is today,” said Angela Pappin, chief transformation officer of ArcelorMittal Dofasco North America, and chair of CME’s Women in Manufacturing Advisory Committee. “The largest untapped potential is to have women in our workforce.”
CME has an action plan with five focus areas requiring improvement in order to increase the number of women in the manufacturing industry including:
- Increasing women leaders in the sector to inspire, educate and encourage young women.
- Access to modern manufacturing methods and facilities to promote change and reduce the stigma associated with the industry.
- Enhancing efforts to encourage young women to pursue a career in manufacturing and education in STEM or skilled trades.
- Manufacturing businesses need to adopt more inclusive workplaces for women.
- Businesses in the industry must find unique ways to improve the work-life balance for their employees.
Speakers at the CME forum included Suzie Yorke, founder of Love Good Fats and CEO of The Better Chocolates; Dr. Marcia Braundy, president and project manager of Equity in Apprenticeship & Technical Fields Digital Archive and the Kootenay Women in Trades & Technology Association; Dr. Jon Callegher, executive director of Research at Job Talks and Elizabeth Moses, Skilled Trades Champion and sheet metal worker.