Greetings Citizens of The Printerverse, and thanks in advance for your attention to this topical subject matter: WOMEN.
So gentlemen… In case you are unaware, women have been around for a while. We have been working in the industry alongside you, you may even see one of us now. Women have leadership roles at print companies, they have leadership roles at print organizations. As a matter of fact, a woman runs drupa, the largest print event in the world.
We are proud, Girls Who Print. I thought it was worth a refresher course before we moved on.
There has been a recent flare-up of gender inequality content created by men, and subsequent conversation regarding women in the industry. Although the authors have reached out for my public support, I cannot give it. That has been very shocking news. I’m a woman, how can I not support this?
Here is why…
I don’t support the position that there is a systematic process in place to deny women leadership positions in the industry organizations. I support the position that we need to work together to attract and maintain women and diversity to print.
I don’t support threats made to colleagues. There is a movement for that, too. It’s called bullying. I support the unification of the ideal that everyone deserves to be paid fairly and equally for the work they do.
I don’t support the idea that Girls Who Print need men speaking for us. Supporting positive change, yes. Bringing issues to light, great. Making changes in your company, awesome. Claiming that you are leading an industry movement and patting each other on the back for the bravery, umm no. Hell, no.
And this is where the problem lies… Ownership of the issue. Men cannot have it. Thinking you can have it, is the actual issue.
What is about Men? Let’s do a reality check exercise…
There are more men than women in the industry, therefore, more men in leadership positions at print shops. If you don’t pay women equally, or promote them equally, this is about you.
There are more men than women in the industry, therefore, more men in leadership positions at the big corporations, especially ones that have their HQ out of the US. If you have one of those positions and aren’t providing (or fighting for) equal opportunity for all, this is about you.
There are more men than women in the industry, therefore, more men in leadership positions at industry organizations. If you aren’t hiring women, they can’t be elected to boards.
And this is where the women come in… together.
The Girls Who Print LinkedIn Group (open to women only) has been around for almost 10 years. It was founded by Mary Beth Smith, and I took over leadership this year. With more than 8000 women from around the world connected through Girls Who Print channels we have stepped up our mission to empower our network with information, education, mentorship / professional development tools, apprenticeship, and employment opportunities.
Do you want to help?
Besides leveling the compensation playing field within your own organizations, we need print shops to open their doors and allow students to come to visit and see the cool things we can make.
Besides ensuring that every employee works in a harassment-free environment, we need print shops to participate in programs like Skills USA to help us grow print workers.
Instead of attacking the industry organizations and jumping on the commenting bandwagon, volunteer to work WITH them and help lead industry change from within. Especially women and people of color.
Contribute to The Story
In March of 2019, Girls Who Print is launching Print Herstory Month. We encourage all of you to start preparing to share stories across your channels about the fabulous and fierce females in print, and about the wide range of employment opportunities and careers available in our technology industry. We will be sharing stories throughout the month as well, please reach out to tell us yours and get involved.
In one of the exchanges I had with a male author, he seemed quite giddy that his post could spark a #metoo movement in print. First of all, #metoo is not about gender or pay inequality. Secondly, #metoo is not a subject that should be “promoted” for clicks. It’s disrespectful and insulting to every human who has ever experienced a #metoo moment, myself included.
And before more mansplaining kicks in… Don’t I understand that any discussion on this topic is good? Don’t I get that there aren’t enough women in print and that they aren’t paid fairly? Don’t I get that women are underrepresented in organizations and on boards?
Yes, I get that.
Yes, things need to change.
So let’s change… all of us, and all of it, together.
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Head Girl in Charge (H.G.I.C.) at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award, and sits on the boards of the Advertising Production Club of NYC and The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC, and works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.
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