International Women's Day: Why gender is not always key
The aluminium industry needs to offer opportunities to women so that they can bring "fresh ideas" to the industry, says Nadine Bloxsome, Editorial Director of the industry magazine "Aluminium International Today". An interview on the occasion of International Women's Day.
Ms Bloxsome, the aluminium industry is dominated by men. What does that mean in concrete terms for your day-to-day work?
Although I work with the aluminium industry, my day-to-day role isn’t really affected by the fact that it is a male-dominated industry. It is more noticeable when I attend certain events that there are usually more men than women, but I personally don’t see this as a positive or negative.
I am surrounded by influential women and men on a daily basis and I am receptive to achievements and success rather than gender.
What appeals to you about working in this industry?
I studied Journalism and actually began my career in B2B publishing 10 years ago now. I worked a number of roles in fashion, beauty, medicine and local TV journalism before landing my first Assistant Editor position in the glass-manufacturing sector. I had never really considered the industrial world as a place I would enjoy working in so much!
It was a complete change of pace and I remember being quite overwhelmed with the technical processes, but I also relished being in a manufacturing environment.
When I moved across into the aluminium industry eight years ago, I was excited to be involved in such a dynamic and innovative sector. Luckily for me, there is always something going on and I have built up a bulging Contacts Book, filled with friendly and helpful associates, who make it a great industry to work in.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for women in the aluminium industry?
This is a hard question because I work with so many different people and see men and women in a number of roles.
A challenge I am often faced with is trying to get more of a balance of men and women speakers at an event or on panel discussions. When putting together an agenda for a conference, I don’t tend to look at the gender of the speaker, but more what they can bring to the discussion. It’s not until I step back sometimes that I realise there are more male speakers on the programme and then I worry if this is an issue or if it might be made into an issue.
How do you think the role of women has evolved recently or will continue to evolve?
These past few years have definitely seen a shift in the number of women in more senior roles and therefore having more of a voice at industry events, which is great to see. However, I am very much of the thinking that a woman shouldn’t be praised for being in a position as a woman, but given credit for being in that position because she is the best candidate for the role.
I think this idea of the ‘evolution’ of women in a manufacturing environment needs more attention at educational levels and as an industry; our focus should be on developing skills and providing opportunities for younger generations.
Why does the aluminium industry need more women?
I don’t necessarily think it’s a question of ‘needing’ more women in the aluminium industry, but more about presenting opportunities for women that might not have been there before, so they are able to offer new skills and have fresh ideas heard.
Thank you very much for the interview!
Nadine Bloxsome is Editorial Director of the industry magazine Aluminium International Today and Content Producer of the Future Aluminium Forum and Greener Aluminium Online Summit.
Further information: https://aluminiumtoday.com/
Photo: Nadine Bloxsome