The Challenges Women Face in the Printing Industry

The printing industry is exceptional in that it is creative, fast-paced, continually evolving, diverse, visual and engaging. The printing industry is not unique in that it presents women with a few challenges.

Challenge # 1: The industry is male-dominated. While career opportunities within the industry are no longer designated for men only, there was certainly a time when men were the only consideration for a printing career – especially if it was manual labor.

Challenge # 2: Attracting women to the industry is difficult. In fact, there is a thesis paper available from 2005 surrounding the topic of lack of female press operators and suggesting the shortage of female press operators could be attributed to invisible barriers that stemmed from preconceived biases (“Can a woman really do that job?”).

Challenge # 3: There is a gender gap in pay (this one is a challenge for all industries). Pew Research Center estimated a $0.15 gender pay gap among all workers in 2018.

Although these are significant hurdles, they are certainly not insurmountable. Interestingly, they seem to act only as entry challenges. Overall, once women are invested within the industry, they seem to be content with the opportunities and benefits afforded to them.

Table from RIT's 2005 Study on Women Press Operators in the Printing Industry where female press operators were asked to provide suggestions that may benefit women considering taking a position as a press operator in the future. 

Notably, SGIA’s development of the Women in Print Alliance is a step toward uniting and empowering women in the print community and its creation and cultivation will advance the effort to dispel the challenges facing women within the industry. The Women In Print Alliance also provides a platform to collect industry research regarding women in printing, which in turn will be a strategic tool to generating connection, interest, and engagement within the industry.

Join the Women in Print community on PRINTERlink to start a discussion of your own!