New MIF Curriculum Explores Women & Gender Diversity in the Manufacturing Workforce

FLATE’s newest “Women in Manufacturing video has been an effective tool in highlighting the
role and significant contributions of women who have made remarkable strides in the Manufacturing workforce. The Video, produced by FLATE in partnership with the Scientific League, discusses pertinent issues about the role women have played in the manufacturing industry, outlines their journey/struggles in entering the manufacturing workforce, and how women have maneuvered through each of the challenges to assume rewarding careers in manufacturing starting at the technician to the C Suite level.

Since the debut of the Video, FLATE has built a Teacher’s Guide featuring three comprehensive curriculum and lesson plans that addresses issues outlined in the Women in Manufacturing video. These curriculum/lessons align with the new Florida Standards (SP.PK12.US.3.3b), and are designed to serve as teaching aids to help educators formulate lessons that stir students’ interest in manufacturing, and help with academic and career planning, course selection, and/or post-secondary goals. The lessons outlined in the teacher’s guide also provide a first-hand look at real-life scenarios surrounding gender bias in the hiring process, and how these collective experiences have shaped the role of women in the current manufacturing workforce. Jesse Kokotek, FLATE curriculum coordinator states the lessons complement FLATE’s STEM based resources targeted to attract women/girls in STEM, and hopes the lessons will help educators enhance their curriculum and spur students particularly girls’ interest in manufacturing careers.

The first lesson plan “Now Hiring-Help Us Pick the Best Candidate” simulates a real-life scenario
where students are provided with resumes and asked to identify the best candidate for a fictitious position at a manufacturing plant. This lesson is intended to be used prior to watching the Women in Manufacturing video, or doing any other lessons. It also serves as a discussion starter about gender stereotypes and inequality. Expected outcomes include building insight/understanding about gender stereotypes and how it can play a role in the hiring process for technical jobs.

The second lesson plan, “Traditional versus Non-Traditional Jobs” compares the two types of jobs often sought by women. The primary focus of the lesson is to explore and contrast manufacturing and technology-driven careers in terms of education requirements, standard of living and job availability. Expected outcomes of the lesson include: an understanding that not all career paths are equal, and sometimes, it is advantageous to seek employment in a non-traditional technology-driven field. The lesson also underlines the importance in assessing standard of living and job availability while choosing a career.

The final lesson plan, “Women Who Lead the Way” takes a closer look at women who have
made significant impact and contribution towards gender equality in the workplace. The lesson helps students understand how past experiences of women in manufacturing have helped shape the way women are currently perceived, and/or will be treated in the workplace in the future, particularly in manufacturing and technical jobs that are considered nontraditional for women. At the conclusion of the lesson, students gain an understanding of how present-day opportunities represent a culmination of discrepancies women have encountered in the past, and the ongoing need/quest for gender equality in the workplace.

For more information on the Women in Manufacturing video and related curriculum/lesson plans visit the “STEM Resources for Girls” section on the FLATE Wiki. To watch the Women in Manufacturing video head to FLATE’s YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/rKW7DslaZAs, and/or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, and Jesse Kokotek, FLATE curriculum coordinator at kokotek@fl-ate.org