Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where Have All the Women Gone?

I am taking liberties with the old folk song written by Pete Seeger (Where Have All the Flowers Gone). I was inspired to write this post after talking with a female colleague of mine about the dearth of women in the wonderful world of industrial automation.

I myself have been in the industry for, let's just say, a few decades. I remember one conference I went to for industrial optics--there were 400 men, and me.  Similarily over the years, the percentages have been consistently tipped.  Now the good part is that I've never, ever had any prejudice from my male colleagues.  I've always been treated with respect.  But the bigger issue is, why aren't women coming into industrial automation, or for that matter, industry at all?

I certainly don't have the answer.  I didn't start out as an engineer, so there wasn't the proclivity to go into an industry where I could use my technical degree.  I am a marketeer at heart, albeit with a strong automation/industry focus.  I was lucky enough to start with a manufacturer, and transition to an automation supplier. But there are so many opportunities for women in this market, and with the retirement of the baby boomers looming, there will be openings for all types of skills, from marketing through management.

Are the schools themselves promoting this industry to women?  I don't know.  But I do know, that if you decide to embrace this market, you'll be challenged, educated, and have your horizons expanded. 
I'd be happy to discuss with anyone--you can reach me at

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