Happy International Women’s Day! It is astonishing how much has changed since we celebrated this important day last March. But with our first taste of Spring comes a renewed sense of optimism about the months and years ahead.

Our recent report on gender diversity and manufacturing gives us even more reasons for optimism. Five, in fact. This is the number of manufacturers featured in this report, all of which recently made substantial progress related to gender diversity. We are eternally grateful to the representatives of these manufacturers (Honda of Canada Mfg., Sanofi Canada, Muskoka Brewery, MAD Elevator, and Cascades), who took the time to share their stories with us so that we could share them with you. 

Suffice to say, we learned a lot from these five manufacturers. We learned that progress is the result of a conscious and intentional effort – there were no happy accidents. We learned that to make progress on gender diversity, it is valuable to involve women in the design and implementation of any policies or practices that support these efforts. We learned that it is critical to be transparent and communicative when it comes to gender diversity and inclusion. These are among other valuable lessons summarized in the final section of our report. 

While these five companies are doing great work, they all recognize that there is much more to do. We at the Trillium Network also recognize that we have more work to do. Here’s an overview of some of the work we are doing that is related to diversity, equity, and inclusion: 

  • Engaging younger persons, especially younger women, in manufacturing. There is a broad consensus that manufacturers need to engage younger persons in order to remain competitive. It is especially important that they engage younger women, who are significantly underrepresented in Ontario manufacturing. Yet, there are some industries and some companies that are bucking this trend. We will be seeking them out so that they can tell their stories. 

Women and Men < 40 and 40+ as a % of Ontario’s Workforce

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey
  • Immigrant women and Ontario manufacturing. Did you know that nearly half of the women working in Ontario’s manufacturing industry are immigrants? This is something we learned only recently. Immigration is incredibly valuable to our nation, our communities, and our economy. We want to learn more about the contributions that these women are making to our globally competitive manufacturing sector.

Immigrants as a % of Female Employees in Ontario, 2016-2020

Source, Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey
  • Diversity and leadership. Hundreds of Ontario manufacturing companies are owned by women, immigrants, and racialized persons. Working with our partners, we want to learn their perspectives on how to build a more diverse and inclusive manufacturing sector. 

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. Part of that is choosing to seek out women who are making a difference and the manufacturers that are making real and measurable progress on gender diversity. If this is you, or if you know someone who matches this description, we welcome and encourage you to get in touch with us (info@trilliummfg.ca). We look forward to helping you share your stories!