Diversity in the 3D printing industry has long been the focus of Women in 3D Printing.
The now-four year old venture, started by Nora Touré, a manager at 3D print service Sculpteo, has been promoting the success of women in the largely-male dominated world of 3D printing. We’ve observed this as well, as our own audience, over the past year, has averaged around 88% male and only 12% female.
The Women in 3D Printing project publishes a website with news and interviews of women involved with the technology, many of which we echo on this site to offer our support.
But it’s not just words they offer. Women in 3D Printing has also provided several networking events in busy 3D printing regions around the world for women to meet others working in 3D printing.
The project also provides a set of mentors who can provide one-on-one advice to those requiring assistance or advice. Wi3DP explains:
Women in 3D Printing strives to lead by example. Since 2014, we have met with incredible role models. Some of them have accepted to become mentors for Women in 3D Printing, and they are available to share their knowledge and advice with anyone interested in additive manufacturing.
That’s not all; Wi3DP is now issuing quarterly reports on gender diversity in the industry, the first of which was deployed today.
It’s been prepared by Sarah Goehrke, who is very well-known across the 3D print universe. Goehrke’s nineteen page report consolidates a number of data sources that show the current state of gender diversity. She explains:
Objectively, the additive manufacturing industry is growing, comprising a more than $6 billion industry. At one estimate, the workforce is made up of 87% male employees and 13% female employees. Public companies’ executive leadership structures can be observed to be made up of a majority male management structure.
The report goes on to collect thoughts from several prominent women in the industry on key questions, including the issue of gender diversity. One comment comes from Monica Sokolowski of Canaray says:
Daily interactions with people who normally expect to interact with a man and inherently (and subconsciously) assume that I are less knowledgeable and competent. This can range from service techs to bookkeepers. It’s something I know to expect, but nevertheless, still takes me by surprise when it happens. I will sometimes compare responses sent from my “female” email to the ones sent from a “male” email account, and it can be quite astounding – particularly in how timely the response is, but I still feel like there’s a lean to the boys club. I’m lucky to be involved with a company that believes in diversity and equal rights.
Finally, the report closes with some ideas for action, with Goehrke explaining:
Actionable steps toward evening the field of employment include establishing relationships with mentors, visibility of role models, and encouraging educational and training initiatives. Through sharing the stories of industry participants, visibility of experience is rising, positioning the next generations of the workforce to enter a more level field and creating a more complex, rich industry built upon wider-reaching creative problem solving, inventive approaches, and breadth of resources.
The full report is available at Women in 3D Printing.