Women's History Month - Female Pioneers in Manufacturing

Women In the Manufacturing Industry

Women make up about 1/3 of the workforce in the manufacturing industry. This figure has stayed fairly consistent throughout recent history. Women have become an integral part of the manufacturing workforce. But where did their journey begin? While women in manufacturing are respected and considered invaluable assets to the industry now, who were the leaders in women beginning careers in the manufacturing industry?

Female Factory Worker Smiles with Hard Hat and Goggles

Women of the Past Step Ahead to Support a Country at War

During World War I, women began to fill employment gaps in factories as most men enlisted or were drafted by the military to go overseas. While the men were fighting a war, female workers became necessary to maintain production during wartime. Essentially women stepped into the "role of a man" as manufacturing was not considered a woman's job at that point in history. Manufacturers everywhere hired women to fill the jobs but were paid half as much as the men whose roles they were filling.

WWII Propaganda for Women to Work

Men Return Home from WWI

When the troops returned home after WWI, women were laid off from their relatively short-lived careers in manufacturing. Since these positions in the workforce were considered gender-specific jobs, men wanted their jobs back and women were quickly replaced and sent back their gender-specific roles of the time.

Women Jump in to Fill the Wartime Gap Again

When World War II presented the same issues as the first, women were quickly motivated to rejoin the workforce and fill men's work positions in a time of need. In 1942, Rosie the Riveter's poster was plastered on walls, magazines and newspapers and labeled with "We Can Do It!" to inspire women as they worked hard to keep the country going--and they did! 

Rosie the RIveter Stamp with "We Can Do It" lining the top

According to multiple sources, between 1940 and 1944, the number of women working in factories grew by 10% and the number of women working in domestic roles decreased by almost as much. 

Times Change as Women and Diversity Begin to Grow

The industrial field was still considered a "man's world" at the end of WWII, but with women leaders beginning to forge ahead and break through gender barriers, things began to change. It was no longer believed that women were better suited to secretarial or phone operator jobs. Pioneers like Clara Barton (founder of the American Red Cross) and Barbara Jordan (the first African-American woman elected to the Texas senate) made a name for women in other industries outside of manufacturing as well. The country could no longer look beyond the power of women of the in workforce.

Women in Manufacturing Are Here to Stay

Female Hand Placing Equal Block Between Gender SIgns

World events led to the establishment of career growth for women and America realized the importance of equal opportunity in professional settings. Women were there and they were there to stay. Acquiring further education and fighting for rights, women blossomed into a comprehensive component to the thriving manufacturing industry. These women opened opportunities for following generations who have picked up and continued the marathon push for diversity in the workplace. Women continue to break through glass ceilings in every industry and prove that the "feminine touch" is just what a business needs. 

 Female Executive Looks at City View from Panoramic Window

The Future of Manufacturing

Development and advancements in technology have encouraged women to obtain degrees and join the manufacturing industry. Every day, progress is being made towards gender equality for today's women and for future generations. Women make up a little over half of the industry's sales and office staff and with the adversity that women have overcome, there is nothing that can stand in the way. Women will continue to push ahead in the manufacturing industry and in any other industry of choice. 

Ravenox Female Factory Workers Pose in Front of Pink Rope

Ravenox is extremely proud to not only be a women-led company, but to also employ amazing women at our rope factory whose work ethic and talent are a necessity to the success of our company. 

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