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Women’s History Month ends on March 31. We thought this would be a good time to take a look at the contributions women continue to make in the manufacturing industry and were thrilled when we discovered this recent report from Thomasnet.com.

Working with the industry group Women in Manufacturing, Thomas discovered the following:

1. Women represent one in three manufacturing professionals and one in four manufacturing leaders.

2. Women have the highest representation in telecommunications (39 percent), and the lowest in energy/utilities (30 percent).

3. When it comes to pursuing careers in manufacturing, men outpace women, 46 percent vs. 30 percent. When it comes to career advancement, the numbers are eerily similar, with 47 percent of men saying their contributions are valued, compared to 30 percent of women.

4. Despite this, three-in-four women are likely to recommend a career in manufacturing. (Among men, the stat is four in five.)

5. Training matters, and leadership/management training tops the list twice: it’s the most widely offered, and the most impactful.

6. Those working in agricultural (85 percent and logistics/shipping (82 percent) are most optimistic about the advancement of women in manufacturing.

Some of you may be thinking about expanding your businesses and bringing in new employees. In addition to providing you with an in-depth understanding of the workforce today, the Thomas report offers tips for tapping a vital part of the economic landscape in America.

Consider this, for example: if you have time to get involved with local schools, or a chance to at least make yourself vocal, encourage the schools to foster an interest in math, science and hands-on skills during the elementary years. Waiting until high school is often too late.

If you have women working in your manufacturing business, make sure the leaders are highly visible. Remember, seeing a role model who looks like you can go a long way toward inspiring young girls to consider manufacturing as a career.

When you’re ready to hire new people, make sure that the women in your company are part of the interviewing and hiring process. This might seem like a no-brainer, but…

Make sure that women are treated and paid equally, and that you make reasonable accommodations for the parents among them. Things like flexibility around drop-off and pick-up times at school work do wonders for employee morale and ease stress. Work is important, of course, but family is more important.

We hope these insights help as you plan your company’s growth. And, of course, we’re always available to help you with the financial end of it.

Good luck, and Godspeed!