Untapped potential

In Canada, women account for 48 per cent of the labour force but only 29 per cent of the manufacturing workforce. For more than 30 years this job share rate has not changed. Attracting more women into manufacturing professions is not only critical to help companies grow and replace their aging workforce, it provides women with careers that are high value, high tech, highly skilled and high paying. To better understand the current realities of women in manufacturing CME released Untapped Potential, an action plan identifying five areas where action is needed in order to increase the number of women in manufacturing:

  • More female role models are needed to inspire and encourage young women
  • Access to modern manufacturing facilities to help change the perception of manufacturing
  • More efforts to encourage young girls to pursue an education in STEM and/or the skilled trades
  • Businesses need to adopt more inclusive workplaces
  • Business need to find creative ways to improve work-life balance for employees.


Scroll below to learn about the many rewarding careers in manufacturing. Be inspired. Click here to submit your story.

We Can Do It!

CME’s Women in Manufacturing initiative aims to increase the number of women in manufacturing by 100,000 by 2030, bringing the total jobs held by women in manufacturing to 600,000 in 2030.  

We need your support!

Become a Champion. Pledge your support to help increase the number of women in the manufacturing sector. Celebrate your success. Share on social media, within your community and supply chain the steps you are taking to lead a diverse workforce. Choose to challenge your peers. Together, we can do it!

See our current Champions.


Champion Commitment
As a Champion of Women in Manufacturing, I commit to:

  • Take action towards achieving meaningful and substantive improvements in supporting inclusion and diversity within my organization; and,
  • Work towards increasing the number of women, aiming for diversity across our organization in accordance with the government’s 50-30 challenge.

Leverage CME’s Gender Inclusion and Diversity toolkit to achieve your goals. The toolkit is made for manufacturers, by manufacturers. It is open source and provides a suite of practical tools. The tools provide a set of individual learnings and actions that manufacturers can take to help make the workplace better for everyone.
As a Champion of women of manufacturing, you will receive:

  • Certificate of Commitment to share in your workplace and a downloadable badge/certificate to display on your website demonstrating your commitment to increasing female representation the workforce.
  • Be listed as a champion on CME’s Women in Manufacturing website.
  • Access to CME’s Women in Manufacturing events.

Get Involved today

Contact: Gozde Kazazoglu, Manager, Workforce Policy and Programs – Gozde.Kazazoglu@cme-mec.ca




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HERSTORY | Valerie Yeo

“One day, I aspire to be a role model for other women in the trades and it is my hope to inspire other young females to try something new, become the Rosie Riveter of this generation with the ‘We can do it‘ attitude.”

HERStory | Leila Keshavjee

“Leila Keshavjee is the Founder and CEO of Happy Pops – an all-natural frozen treat company based in Toronto. When Leila graduated with a degree in kinesiology from the University of Toronto, she founded Happy Pops after learning that there are many names for sugar and it’s often difficult to find products with ingredients you can recognize.”

HERStory | Kim Thira

Kim Thira is the President and CEO of AceTronic Industrial Controls Inc., a company that is primarily invested in the plastics manufacturing industry.

HERStory | Sabrina Fiorellino

“Sabrina Fiorellino has created a number of companies in her lifetime and is a lawyer by background who was responsible for doing mergers and acquisitions on Bay Street for a number of years. Sabrina has always been an entrepreneur, starting her first company at the age of 18.”

HERStory | Esther Vlessing

“Esther Vlessing is the President of Canada Emergency Medical Manufacturers (CEMM). The company was created when the pandemic hit and pushed Esther to create a manufacturing network by tapping into the apparel, furniture and automotive sectors.”

HERStory | Madi Griemann

Featuring Madi Griemann, Women in Manufacturing Scholarship recipient.

HERStory | Alicia Figueria

“We all enter engineering with a common goal or dream. And that is to help solve societies problems in order to help it progress and move forward.” says System Integration and Test Engineer, Alicia Figueira.

Harnessing the Power of Influencers

If there is a strong push for women in manufacturing, active promotion of this exciting career field could help. There are teachers like me out there who happily bring in guest speakers and would take students on tours.

Skyrocketing curiosity with STEM – and why it matters.

3M Canada featuring Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut and first neuroscientist in space.

Life as a Female Engineer at Schneider Electric

Written by Guest Blogger, Maulidya Falah

Breaking the mold: How the find your place in an industry dominated by men by BDC

How a Newfoundland entrepreneur grew her business from 50 to 750 employees in 15 years. How two sisters successfully take over the family machining business.

5 Questions about Women in Manufacturing

Featuring Rhonda Barnet

People and Passion

Rhonda Barnet, President and COO of AVIT Manufacturing’s HERstory

My manufacturing story, three generations in the making

By CME staff member Carrie Schroeder