Kitchener, ON (March 6, 2019) Rhonda Barnet, President & COO of Steelworks Design and CME Women in Manufacturing spokesperson released the following statement with regards to the 2nd Annual Women in Manufacturing Success Forum:  

Attracting and retaining more women in the workforce is the key to a stronger manufacturing sector. A strong inclusion and diversity strategy is the first step to ensuring manufacturers are attracting top talent to their door. That is why we are proud to be releasing our Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Toolkit, a suite of practical tools designed specifically for manufacturers by manufacturers.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is proud to bring together industry leaders to share current strategies, exchange inspiring stories and, develop new concepts encourage more women to pursue manufacturing careers and bridge the skills gap.”  

The Women in Manufacturing Success Forum and the I&D Toolkit is a concrete step to implementing CME’s Women in Manufacturing action plan. The plan highlights five areas where action is needed in order to improve representation in manufacturing:

  • More high-profile female role models are needed to inspire and encourage young women to consider a career in manufacturing.
  • Young women need more exposure to modern manufacturing facilities to gain a more accurate perspective on the career opportunities available to them. Those efforts need to focus on occupations within manufacturing rather than on the sector itself.
  • Efforts to encourage young girls to pursue an education in STEM fields and/or the skilled trades need to be improved.
  • Businesses need to listen to the concerns of women and take steps to make their workplace culture more inclusive.
  • Businesses must find creative ways to improve work-life balance for their employees.

About the Women in Manufacturing Initiative

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ (CME) Women in Manufacturing Working Group was launched Rhonda Barnet, President & COO, Steelworks design. in March 2017. The Working Group was created in response to a key recommendation from CME’s Industrie 2030 initiative regarding the need to attract more women to manufacturing to help address chronic labour and skills shortages in the sector.

The Working Group includes women and men representing CME member companies from a wide range of sizes and industries. The Working Group is dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women to pursue careers in manufacturing.

About Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and thrive around the world. In 2016, CME released Industrie 2030 – a roadmap for doubling Canadian manufacturing activity by 2030. Our focus is to ensure the sector is dynamic, profitable, productive, innovative and growing. We aim to do this by strengthening the labour force, accelerating the adoption of advanced technology, supporting product commercialization, expanding marketplaces and, most importantly, ensuring a globally-competitive business environment. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.

For more information, please contact

Stefi Proulx 
Director of Communications & Branding
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters