Male Allyship Helps Women Succeed in Manufacturing


The following article was first published by Industry Today. It is reposted here with the permission of the authors.

Male allies can help promote the advancement of women in the industry, ultimately closing the ever-increasing employment gap.

With a forecast of over two million vacant manufacturing positions over the next decade and the ratio of women to men in the manufacturing industry 30/70% respectively, manufacturers can help close the employment gap through concerted efforts to hire, retain, and promote women in the industry.

At the center of this transformation is male allyship—a commitment of the men who make up a majority of the industry to understand, advocate for, and empower women.

There are various ways men can serve as allies in the manufacturing industry.

Unique Obstacles

They can actively engage with women, initiate conversations, and ask questions to understand the unique obstacles women encounter that impact their professional goals.

By understanding these hurdles, men can help create a more supportive and flexible work environment to promote the hiring and retention of women in the industry.

Male allies can also champion women’s ideas and advocate for their advancement within the organization.

Men can help create a more supportive and flexible work environment to promote the hiring and retention of women in the industry.

This level of allyship can help women obtain recognition and ultimately break through barriers to reach management and executive-level positions.

Manufacturers have implemented many successful programs to hire, retain, and promote women in the industry.

Male allies and leadership teams can use these ideas to strategize which programs would be most beneficial to their current and prospective employees, based on their company’s size and composition:

Establishing Women-focused Employee Resource Groups: Companies can create groups that help to provide a platform for women to connect, share experiences, and support each other in their professional growth.

For example, an ERG can provide programming around International Women’s Day that highlights women’s contributions to the industry. Male allies can play a crucial role in these groups by actively participating and amplifying the voices of women.

Mentorship Programs: Male and female employees can participate in curated cross-gender mentoring relationships.

These relationships can benefit both parties if each commit to sharing their own unique insights, goals, and the structure or flexibility that is needed to achieve those goals.

Open dialogue can help break down gender biases and barriers, as well as create a pipeline to a new and different network for both participants.

Tailored Onboarding Processes: Companies can develop onboarding processes that provide resources and support tailored to the needs of women, such as networking opportunities, mentorship, and professional development programs.

Implement Training Programs: Companies can offer or require training programs for all employees, including management and leadership, on topics such as unconscious bias, gender diversity, and inclusive leadership.

These programs should emphasize the importance of allyship and provide actionable steps to support women in the workplace.

Promote Gender Diversity in Leadership: Companies can focus on increasing the representation of women in leadership positions through leadership development opportunities, as well as creating and implementing succession-planning programs that prioritize diversity.

By having more women in leadership, companies can create role models and mentors for other female employees, and demonstrate through their actions that gender equity is valued at all levels of the organization.

Support Industry Groups for Women and Male Allies: Companies can sponsor women and male allies in relevant industry groups that focus on expanding the network and training of women in the industry, providing leadership opportunities in local and national chapters, and advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the manufacturing industry.

By implementing these and other initiatives and embedding allyship in company culture, manufacturing companies can propel women forward within the industry and, ultimately, close the growing employment gap.

jennifer shanley robinson & cole llp
jeffrey white robinson & cole llp

Jen Shanley and Jeff White are leaders of the nationally-recognized Manufacturing Law Industry Team at the law firm Robinson+Cole. Both are involved with Women in Manufacturing, a trade association of over 20,000 members supporting, promoting and inspiring women who have chosen careers in the manufacturing industry. Shanley serves as secretary for the Connecticut Chapter of WiM and White serves on the national organization’s board of directors.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests

The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.