For Women in Manufacturing, Starting Early May Be Key

For Women in Manufacturing, Starting Early May Be KeyA few weeks back, we covered our top ten best blog posts of 2013. Included in this roundup was a great recap of the organization Women in Manufacturing, a group created to encourage the presence of women in manufacturing and emphasize the gender-inclusiveness of the industry.

Although it seems as if it should be archaic to even discuss why Women in Manufacturing are important, the truth is that stereotypes about what women can and should be interested in still exist today. That’s not to say that this isn’t changing—but the future of manufacturing depends on skilled engineers, scientists, computer technicians, and manufacturers of all genders entering the field.

“If women believe they can succeed in tech, they will,” says Facebook second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg. “And so many amazing technical leaders already do.”

Whether you’re a female interested in a manufacturing career, or simply looking for ways to increase gender equality in the industry, childhood is a great place to start. Teaching STEM skills early helps get young children–girls especially–on the right track towards a well-rounded education. But getting on the right track doesn’t have to be boring!

Some of the most important innovators and manufacturers in the country began their careers by playing with Lincoln Logs and microscopes, a perfect introduction into the worlds of engineering and science.

“I grew up taking everything apart and putting things back together. I wanted to know how things work and why the world works,” says David B. Munson, Robert J. Vlasic dean of engineering at the University of Michigan.

So even though Christmas has passed and we’re well on our way into the New Year, make 2014 the year that you can help play a part in stimulating the involvement of young women in the manufacturing industry here in Nebraska. Even though the New York Times reports that Sofia the First, a Disney Princess decked out in a lavender gown, is one of the hottest toys to buy this holiday season, we recommend strolling right on past the doll aisle next time you’re up to buy a birthday or baby shower present.

The New York Times also lists several toys that are the perfect gift, including one that we recommended in our list of best holiday gifts for 2013: Roominate. Why buy a traditional dollhouse when you can buy one that allows kids to step into the shoes of a designer and engineer? Founded by two women engineers, Roominate hones design and STEM skills.

The holiday season isn’t the only time to encourage strong STEM skills and women in manufacturing—these products are available all year long. And who knows? The next renowned female Nebraskan innovator may be thanking you down the road for getting them off to an early start.

photo credit: demandaj via photopin cc