I had the honor and privilege of speaking at the Spring 2022 Envelope Manufacturer’s Association (EMA) Meeting in April. I was a part of a dynamic panel discussion regarding equal opportunity, recruiting and mentorship. The panel was a mix of women in leadership roles, within the print, envelope, and paper industries.

Here was some key information from the panel that is worth sharing and the discussions that took place surrounding this information was, as Alan would say, “fantastic”.

  • Women make up almost half of the U.S. Workforce. Women make up less than 30% of the manufacturing workforce.
  • For every 13 companies, 1 is run by a woman
  • 21% of C-Suite positions are held by women
  • 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women
  • 90% of companies have at least 1 woman in senior management
  • Women in senior management roles grew to 31% in 2021.
  • Male-dominated industries rely on mentorship for professional and career development more heavily than other industries. Yet, while 63% of women have never had any formal mentor, more than 60% of men have had a CEO or senior executive–level mentor.
  • Women, more than men, experience negative outcomes when they display assertive traits, such as competitiveness or dominance. Expressing these traits, including through negotiation, and communicating expertise, hurts women’s likability and, as a result, hinders downstream outcomes, such as hireability and promotions. Additionally, we discussed how starting as early as grade school is necessary to plant the seed for manufacturing opportunities in the future. Educating young women and men on STEM/STEAM careers for the future is extremely valuable in laying the foundation to keep America manufacturing.
It’s important to highlight the key action items to recruit and retain women:
  • Communicate openly – about gaps and strategies to make improvements
  • Design workplaces and policies with all people in mind
  • Establish mentoring/sponsorship and leadership development programs
  • Think about the pipeline – apprenticeships, education

In closing, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote, as I did the audience: “There’s a special place in hell for women that don’t help other women.”

-Madeleine Albright