During WWII, 30% of manufacturing jobs were held by women. Though women make up half of the workforce, they still account for just one-third of manufacturing jobs. At a time when manufacturers are facing critical challenges finding skilled workers–a pre-pandemic 2019 study by Gallup put the shortage at 2 million–women might just be the answer to closing the gap.
Women who do join the field are seeing that it is very possible to thrive in a manufacturing environment. We interviewed Tania Terry, a Momentum alumnae, who is currently a senior staff engineer at Honda Development and Manufacturing of America.
Tania is responsible for the business plan development and execution activities for the Honda automotive plants across North America. Specifically, the business plan developments provide the operating direction of the company in relation to production plans for vehicle production, manufacturing efficiencies, resource management, human capital, logistics, and physical space to ensure the company’s operational priorities are met.
A little background about Tania: she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tania started as a Supplier Quality Engineer working with suppliers across the nation on ensuring that the parts that went into their vehicles met the design specifications. This led to an opportunity to lead Export Market Certification and homologation processes for specific models of Honda vehicles, and finally to developing business plans for Honda manufacturing plants.
When asked about the biggest misconceptions women have about working in manufacturing, Tania shared that most people assume working in manufacturing is hard physical labor and a dirty environment. This is not always true. Tania works in a highly technological, pristine, advanced manufacturing facility that has thousands of jobs that do not require heavy physical labor.
For women thinking about entering the field of Manufacturing, Tania says “go for it!” There is something especially gratifying about literally seeing the result of your work. Manufacturing is an ever-evolving field, giving women the opportunity to create products and processes to improve our lives and our world.
Contributed by Carrie Davis