FLATE’s Executive Director Celebrates #GirlsLoveSTEM Month!
Welcome to the May issue of the FLATE Focus, our blog newsletter where we share our work, announce events we
are involved in, and highlight great programs and people across the state who are working hard to enhance and grow manufacturing education in the state. For the past few years, we have used the May issue of the Focus to celebrate and promote women in Manufacturing. No matter how you slice and dice the data, there remains a significant gap between the number of women vs. men across all aspects of many manufacturing companies. The story in Florida mirrors the national picture. Where are the girls in manufacturing?
Of course, there are the historical, societal reasons and analyzing them is important to develop strategies that can be successfully implemented. Before delving into the ‘why,’ we have to answer two questions. How do we get them into manufacturing? And, how do we keep them there? We sometimes think we know what to do, or know what can attract and retain women in these fields, but it’s good to get these perspectives from experts who can help pinpoint solutions.
A 2015 report, “Solving the Equation,” the Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing, published by the American Association of University Women (https://aauw.org/) finds that “women are making significant contributions to the fields of engineering and computing, yet are still a distinct minority in these fields”. Furthermore, the report concludes that “stereotypes and biases lie at the core of the challenges facing women in engineering and computing.” Educational and workplace environments are therefore dissuading women who might otherwise succeed in these fields. Increasing the number of women in engineering and computing will require focused attention by employers, educational institutions, policy makers and individuals to create welcoming work environments for women.