The debate is long, ongoing and it continues to annoy me that we, as women leaders, being more than 50% of the UK population, are still regularly challenged in our ability to lead in all areas but especially male dominated sectors like manufacturing.
Manufacturing is defined as ‘the value added production of merchandise for use or sale using labour or machines’ but that’s on the shop floor (and we’ve mastered that skill anyway) and has little to do with one’s ability to lead the organisation. Skills are transferable and once the sector is known and understood, there is no reason why a woman cannot lead a manufacturing company however large or small.
Having set up and run a manufacturing company in 2006, I found myself in a highly male-preferenced (not sure if that’s a word) arena, where for many of these men, I was still viewed as ‘the secretary’. In fact I was a majority shareholder and Executive Director plus an all out grafter who was in the business hours before anyone else arrived and stayed long after the last of the workers had left. Identifying and securing the finance for the business to grow was down to me and ensuring our public profile was high also fell into my domain.
Research continues to show that recruiting women into leadership positions provides an irrefutable and verifiable link with improved business performance. It’s simple; we have an additional set of skills and qualities that will make a measured improvement to the company’s bottom line.
To find top talent, senior leaders need to stop recruiting like-for-like and decide to make a significant change in their senior leadership team. By increasing the gender balance, business will be awarded with more creative futures, inspired innovation and motivated workforces for the ultimate aim of business success and sustainability.
We know you, as men can’t have babies although the creation process is 50/50, we’re just asking for the same courtesy in making (manufacturing) everything else!