Women in Manufacturing: Rosie the Riveter & Beyond
For International Women’s Day, Shop Floor Automations wants to take the time to recognize women in the field of manufacturing and similar jobs. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of women in manufacturing, or women in industrial jobs, is Rosie the Riveter, which is a great place to start.
The real-life inspiration for this iconic figure is said to be a woman named Rose Will Monroe. The month of May is extremely significant to Rosie, as the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company came out with the well-known “We Can Do It!” poster in May of 1942, while a Norman Rockwell painting inspired by the ad came out in May of 1943. Rose herself passed away in May of 1997.
World War II was a historic time for women in the workplace. Women who would normally work low-paying administrative assistant type jobs, or were stay-at-home mothers, were filling these important positions during this tumultuous time. A great book to read about this era is “A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II.”
When World War II ended, many women either returned to their homes or office jobs, but a good amount remained in the manufacturing industry. Today, there is a need to maintain and bring more women into this field of work.
“According to a 2015 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, women make up 47 percent of the overall workforce but just 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce,” quoted Penny Brown of AMT. “Simply put, it can get lonely for a woman on the factory floor. At a time when manufacturing is seeing a desperate need for skilled workers, it seems that it’s a very good time to address ways to tap this vast talent pool.”
“Like young people, women need to see the value of a manufacturing career, but they also need to feel like there is a place for them in it,” Penny continues. “Whether their skill is design, management, engineering, or some other area of business, diversity is proven to improve a company’s competitiveness and innovation.”
Some encouraging sites in regards to women in the field of manufacturing are the Women Can Build photo exhibit, via the California Institute of Technology, as well as many organizations that continue the dialogue to include women in manufacturing, industrial and technical jobs. Just off the top of our heads, there is SWE (Society of Women Engineers), WiM (Women in Manufacturing), Girls Who Code, and SkillScout, for starters.
There are also modern depictions of Rosie that remain alive to this day, from women who do photo shoots dressed up as her, women who cosplay as her for conventions or Halloween, or even the popular Rosie’s restaurant aboard the Carnival Valor ship, which can fit nearly 3000 passengers for each voyage. No matter how you think of women in manufacturing, whether in vintage or modern tones, it is great to see that the conversation never closed up shop.
If you work on a manufacturing shop floor and want to see better productivity, as well as improved OEE, please contact us for solutions! Call us at (877) 611-5825 or contact us on social media.