40: Putting Women In the Driver's Seat

a BROADcast for Manufacturers

Dec 6 2023 • 18 mins

Read the article here: Empowering women in the construction equipment sector

Lori: Improving Economies for Stronger Communities is what the acronym stands for. So it's a non-profit organization that focuses on creating economic opportunity for people in communities, especially around like developing countries and whatnot. So I think that's fascinating and I love that mission.

So Komatsu India went with to this company to help get more women trained to operate excavators, and I thought that was interesting. So I thought, let's let's talk about that on the show because, you know, manufacturing and ladies.

Erin: And the future we'd like to talk about… the future is women. And this is a really, really strong example. I mean, just for our listeners, essentially, it's a really advanced training program. They put a lot of resources into training people up on these excavators, but with an eye towards the particular needs of women, given that they have not traditionally been part of this workforce.

And so looking for ways to welcome women into this industrial sector and give them the skills that they need to really thrive and do well in it. And so you can imagine why even in the U. S. that would be kind of a big deal, right? Like these things are massive monster machines and that sort of work is often considered “burly man work”.

Lori: And why not give more women the opportunity? I mean, there's a need for this work to get done. So if women are interested in learning how to run the machinery and the equipment and fill some of these holes in the job market, then why not?

Lori: I mean, my thinking is…  I'm going to say the word that I tried to avoid, but it's just a good word. It's pivot. When change is required or there's a need to be filled, then why not make an adjustment to the norms? I see your argument, but I also think that this is a smart move. If there's demand to fill holes, and you have people that are willing to learn something new to fill that void, then what's wrong with that?

Erin: I don't think that anything's wrong with it. Where my concern lies is this real societal progress. Let's take for example, we're looking at automation, right? We're looking at a lot of these types of jobs in particular moving towards an automation or robotic space. I don't know enough about this industry, but I know that is happening. Who's the first to go? Partly seniority is going to be an issue. The women are new because this is a new initiative, but also when we're not looking at structural change that isn't just about filling a need or what's needed here, then the first step back is going to be letting those women return to lower paying, lower opportunity jobs because why not, you know? They're the easy one to let go. And what are the signals where we're making real lasting change where women, whatever the economic or the labor infrastructure is, maintain our opportunities going forward. What are those signs?

Women In Manufacturing - with Meaghan Ziemba

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