- April 7, 2021
- Posted by: David Marshall
- Category: Business
People have a tendency to stereotype and it has always aggravated me when they do.
There’s been a long-time myth that manufacturing is only for men, and that women are incapable of doing the kind of hard work involved in a factory. You only have to know the story of how 6 million American women stepped into the workforce during World War II to know how wrongheaded and sexist that myth is.
So I never bought into the idea that manufacturing was a man’s job.
Whenever we needed to fill a position in one of our factories and someone would say, “We need a man for that job,” I would always say, “Bullshit. A woman can do it just as well as a man.”
If you have the right equipment and the right culture, you can put a woman into any job and she can do it. And if you use the excuse that you need a man to be able to regularly pick up and carry 100-pound items, you’re a bloody idiot, because he can only do that for so long before something breaks and you need to hire someone new.
You need the right equipment for him to be able to move that much weight without getting injured, otherwise, you’re looking at a lot of worker’s compensation payments for back injuries. That means figuring out how to reduce it so it’s no more than 20 pounds
And if you’re going to provide that equipment for a man, a woman can operate it equally well. they can lift 20 pounds, which means the “must be able to lift 100 pounds” is a false argument.
Women Have Skills, Too
Another reason we need more women in manufacturing is that they have the high-tech skills the job requires. If we’re already in the middle of a skilled labor shortage, why would you cut your potential labor pool in half?
Not to mention, women tend to absorb more information through their senses, which means they tend to have higher attention to detail than men do.
And I’ve found that women often have a far lower ego quotient than men. I’ve found, at least among the managers and executives I’ve worked with, men have a tendency to compete with each other and compare their. . . accomplishments — marking their territory, as it were. Women will just get on the job and get it done.
Even at Robroy, I saw more women entering the plant as workers on the floor, and they worked well. They had a strong sense of responsibility, and they wanted to do good work.
We also have a lot more acceptance for women in manufacturing now than we had 20 years ago. Hell, if we can have women fighter pilots and women astronauts, why not have women in manufacturing? We have machines that let you just press a button or move a lever, and anyone can handle that. If they can pilot a $1 million aircraft, I have no doubt they can press buttons and pull levers. So this idea that manufacturing is only for men is complete nonsense.
We’re in a labor shortage, so don’t cut yourself off from a potential source.
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business, including pivoting within their industry. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Photo credit: (Two women working on an airplane) Alfred T. Palmer (Library of Congress, Public Domain)
Photo credit: (Woman working on airplane) Alfred T. Palmer (Library of Congress, Public Domain)