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Economic recovery: We must include women in the manufacturing sector, says Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

March 8, 2021  By Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

As today marks the start of the 4th Annual Women in Manufacturing Success Forum organized by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the association believes that it is imperative that Canada increases the presence of women in the manufacturing sector to foster an inclusive economic recovery, given that women have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

To counter the pandemic’s impact on women’s employment, CME is calling for extra funding for its Women in Manufacturing (WIM) program, tax incentives to help employers to create childcare options, and additional money destined to help retrain women for jobs in manufacturing.

“Attracting more women into manufacturing professions is not only critical to help companies grow and replace their aging workforce, but it also provides women with careers that are high value, high tech, highly skilled and high paying”, said Rhonda Barnet, Immediate Past Chair of CME and President & COO of AVIT Manufacturing.

Women in manufacturing hit hard by COVID-19


Like other sectors, manufacturing experienced a decline in women’s workforce participation rates due to the pandemic. However, unlike for men, those numbers have not yet been recouped. In fact, as of January 2021, female employment in Canadian manufacturing was 3.5 per cent below its February 2020 pre-pandemic level, while male employment rose to 0.8 per cent above this threshold. This shows us that COVID-19 caused unprecedented layoffs which are still felt by women today as we remain 18,200 jobs behind pre-pandemic female employment levels. To recoup these losses, we need to double down on our efforts.

Women in Manufacturing (WIM) Initiative

CME has worked hand in glove with governments across Canada on its WIM initiative, as it seeks to increase female participation rates in the sector’s workforce.

“CME supports an economic recovery that places more emphasis on women. To do this, measures must be put in place that promote the attraction and retention of women, particularly in the manufacturing sector. We must ensure that women are included at all levels in our organizations. Together, We Can Do It!” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME.

Annual Women’s Success in Manufacturing Forum: a series of events

In this context, CME will hold its 4th Annual Forum on the Success of Women in the Manufacturing Industry, from March 8 to 12. The event will focus on how to engage and inspire young women to consider careers in manufacturing, help manufacturers attract and retain women in their workplaces, and empower, support, and accelerate women in the industry.

Every day of next week, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST, hundreds of participants and partners will be able to join in conversation and hear from leaders of the manufacturing sector, attend engaging discussion panels, view virtual factory tours, and get inspired by untold stories of women in industry.

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