In today’s processing and packaging workforce, women are growing as a significant and important facet of the industry. Manufacturing is still male-dominated, but with the right resources, more women will turn to the field as a source of long-term career growth. In an effort to empower women in processing and packaging, a new network is trying to attract this demographic to the industry.

Closing the gender gap

The Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN), spearheaded by The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI), aims to provide women with the networking and mentorship opportunities needed to develop their careers and become strong leaders in the industry.

“Closing the gender gap could help close the skills gap,” said Diane Lyons of Deloitte & Touche at one of PPWLN’s recent networking events, citing an industry audit that projected 2 million jobs in the industry will go unfilled in years to come.

“'If women have a network of colleagues in the industry, they’ll feel a lot more connected.'”

Technological outreach

PMMI hopes to leverage their new network to develop internal resources and to cultivate new talent by inspiring young women. “Right now we’re poised to develop our next physical and virtual events,” says Katie Bergmann, Senior Vice President at PMMI. “We’re aiming to hold regional meetings, webinars and outreach to schools to encourage women in STEM to consider the processing and packaging industry.”

PPWLN’s goal is to raise awareness about the many opportunities for women to succeed and lead in processing and packaging. Along the way, both the women and men of the industry hope to challenge gender bias and make women feel more at home. “This network will be a support group,” says Bergmann. “If women have a network of colleagues in the industry, they’ll feel a lot more connected.”