The manufacturing industry is not living up to its potential due to a low rate of female participation, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre has said.
The AMGC said “one of the key factors” in the low participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by females was “a lack of representation of female leads.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2019 – 20 the manufacturing sector’s workforce was 72.5 per cent made up of men aged 20 – 74.
“With the theme of International Women’s Day being ‘Choose to Challenge’, AMGC would like to celebrate a number of leading women who challenge the myth that a career choice in manufacturing, or any STEM-related discipline, isn’t for women,” said AMGC Managing Director, Dr Jens Goennemann.
Citing research informing its 10 Ways To Succeed In Manufacturing report — published in September last year and including a poll of 1,000-plus students in focus groups — the AMGC said that being presented with an up-to-date version of manufacturing led to a 47 per cent net increase in interest in the industry as a possible career.
It was found that for females in particular a better understanding of the industry’s opportunities “and seeing themselves included in communications about manufacturing had a strong impact on their ‘mental availability’ to choosing manufacturing as a career path,” according to the AMGC.
Three female leaders in high-tech manufacturing startups, each with a background in science or engineering, have been highlighted as examples of what’s possible.
“Women remain underrepresented across all STEM studies and careers – but that shouldn’t discourage you! The only thing that is going to stop you from pursuing a career in STEM is you – if you want it, you can have it!” said Dr Heba Khamis, CEO and co-founder of robotics startup Contactile.
“A career in STEM is an opportunity to be on the cutting edge and work with the latest technology, these careers are the fastest-growing in the world, with high demand, high pay and a high level of job satisfaction.”
“My advice to young females considering a career in STEM is to realise that you can take your career in any direction you like. Problem-solving, critical thinking and analytical reasoning are highly desired across many industries,” added Dr Priscilla Rogers (pictured) an entrepreneur and co-founder of automotive technology company Doftek.
“I went to a school careers day when I was about 16, which got me thinking a lot,” explained Dr Kymberley Talbot, Managing Director of lithium-ion battery developer FELINE.
“Initially, I thought about the fit between my liking to cook and wanting to build a career for myself that paid well and gave me options. I guess I am passionate about both. For me, my current role in advanced manufacturing is a bolt-on of mechanical and chemical engineering (which helped my cooking) rolled into one.”
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