Women of 3D Printing

The technology and manufacturing worlds at large remain male-dominated—a reality influenced by education, hiring patterns and systemic inequalities. In the smaller additive manufacturing sector, the dynamic is similar, especially when we look at leadership positions. Recent estimates (from the 2018 Additive Manufacturing Salary Survey) suggest that women may account for as little as 11% of the industry’s workforce—a statistic that leaves much to be desired.

Despite these low figures and what is a clear issue with gender diversity in engineering, manufacturing and technology, there are active women in the 3D printing industry, many of whom not only excel in their positions but also take up the mantle of promoting the role of women in the field.

These women are transforming the industry in endless ways—from R&D, to design, to engineering, to founding and leading companies. For this month’s AM focus series we are highlighting some of the women active in the 3D printing sector, as well as how their work is influencing the industry at large.

Importantly, we aim to keep the discussion of diversity and equality in the additive manufacturing industry going. In recent years, many companies have taken a productive stance on diversity, recognizing that having a diverse team will foster innovation through the simple fact of bringing together different perspectives. Still, there is a ways to go, which is why it is important to keep the dialogue going.

Efforts such as Women in 3D Printing, founded by Nora Toure, provide a community for the women working within AM and for those seeking to enter the industry. The resource is vital to the female minority in AM and also offers a platform for keeping the industry engaged in its discussion of diversity. The organization’s Diversity for Additive Manufacturing reports (there have been three editions issued so far) are continually looking for companies to contribute in order to understand the demographic make-up of the industry.

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