Paola Fantini, our Education Pillar Director, is leading EIT Manufacturing’s activities to promote gender balance in the industry.
Why is it important to focus on gender diversity in manufacturing, right now?
The manufacturing sector is currently at a crossroads, and we will need all talent onboard – women and men – in succeeding in this transformation towards a carbon neutral, fully digital and more flexible sector. Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in the industry; between 20 and 30 percent of manufacturing employees are female. Only by bringing onboard all the available talent, women and men alike, can we unleash the full talent potential to help transform the sector. Research also shows that bringing in more diversity on the teams, adds new perspectives and hence stimulates innovation and in the end, improves our financial results.
What is EIT Manufacturing doing to promote this topic across its activities?
EIT Manufacturing is committed to promoting the diversity topic across its partnership, across all its activities and communication. We strive to ensure that women, and the female perspective, is represented right from the beginning, that is, from the design to implementation.
You are responsible for EIT Manufacturing’s education activities, what needs to change to attract more women to the sector?
We have already come a long way. When I started studying engineering, there were very few women among us, and everything was designed for men. Now, we see much more female engineers and workers, but still very few make it to the executive level. To change this, we need to empower and support women in developing their leadership skills, but this need to be done together with the men. In addition, bringing forward more female role models is important.
Why is it exciting to work with the future of manufacturing?
For me, manufacturing is exciting as you end up with producing something tangible. Besides, the sector contributes heavily to our everyday life and in improving it.