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No Women in Manufacturing? Think again

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Many women are deterred from participation in some of Australia’s most thriving and essential businesses, particularly in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing. This is due to organisations struggling to attract women to consider and apply for jobs. However, a recent focus on attraction, retention and recruitment for women in these industries has led to women making their mark, and the numbers of women in manufacturing are on the rise.

In Australia there is an under-utilised pool of female talent that can contribute to the success of manufacturing businesses nation wide. Currently in Australia the manufacturing industry employs over 900,000 people with 1 in 4 being women. In just Queensland alone, manufacturing contributes around $20 billion each year to the economy.

Women can add to the skill set so many Australian businesses are struggling to recruit for.

Nation and State wide initiatives are recognising and awarding women excelling in male dominated industries for their contribution.

The Women in Industry Awards celebrate women in manufacturing, engineering, transport and mining. This year’s awards saw a 27 per cent rise in nominations compared with last year, as well as a record number of individuals, businesses and organisations represented.

Winner of the Excellence in Manufacturing award this year is Rochelle Avinu stated, “often the manufacturing industry is portrayed as factory work, but there are endless opportunities in the industry in cross-functional disciplines, such as laboratories, quality, procurement and management and leadership.”

The judges for the awards were impressed with the calibre of nominations and the influence women are having on the respective industries.

“Many sacrificed personal time to get things done to ensure a safer workplace, better policies, encouraging more women and younger girls into manufacturing, and lifted the perception of what it meant to work in Australian manufacturing.”

The Australian Human Rights Commission released a toolkit of strategies in 2013, “Women in male-dominated industries” that continues to be a great resource for businesses hoping to bridge the gap and create a more diverse workplace.

“We want to continue to build on this and encourage females to pursue careers in manufacturing, because attracting and retaining more women is important to a stronger manufacturing sector.”

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