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Who Are the Women in Print?

(July 2017) posted on Tue Jul 11, 2017

SGIA's Women in Print Alliance reveals a snapshot of its industry-wide survey.

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By Kate Achelpohl

The breakthrough Women in Print Alliance was created in fall 2016 to attract the next generation of gifted women to the printing industry, retain and recognize those who are successfully serving the industry, and advance or promote talented women in print whose success would benefit the industry as a whole.

First on the Women in Print agenda: a wide-reaching survey to generate a snapshot of women’s experiences, expectations, and priorities working in the printing industry. Women in Print will share survey results at its breakfast on Wednesday, October 11, at the 2017 SGIA Expo.

Here’s a peek at what the data is saying about women in printing.

Most respondents fall into the printer, rather than the supplier, camp, by a ratio of about 3:1. More than two-thirds of respondents (67.5 percent) “use printing/imaging technologies to produce a product or contribute to a finished product,” and 22.4 percent “provide equipment or consumables to the printing/imaging industry.”

Survey respondents are evenly spread between sales/marketing, management, and design. The top three areas represented by our respondents are “Sales & Marketing” (23.3 percent), “Senior Management & Leadership” (20.5 percent) and “Art & Design” (17.8 percent), and the most popular job functions are “Senior Management” (24.7 percent), “Business Management” (19.2 percent) and “Art/Design Personnel” (16 percent).

Most women get into the printing business by happenstance. Circumstances led 37.9 percent of respondents into the printing industry. That said, 19.2 percent started their own businesses and 16.9 percent followed their passion for graphics.

Women in printing are staying with printing. To date, 36.8 percent of respondents report more than 20 years in the business. “It's a perfect industry for women, whether in production as a printer or an artist. All jobs can be handled by either a man or a woman. Most industries aren't like that,” said one respondent.

Top words to describe what’s attractive about printing as a career field include creativity, challenging, interesting, changing, and people.

Girls or boys? All jobs in print can be handled by a man or a woman, but that doesn’t mean that men and women are being considered for all jobs. Many respondents voiced a perception of printing as a “boys’ club.”

“[The industry is] very male-centric. The majority are not very accepting of women in leadership or technical roles,” said a respondent.

Another expanded on that theme. “The treatment of women in a ‘men’s world’ within our industry can be disheartening at times,” she said. “The inability to move up and advance led me to consider leaving before I started my company and took charge of my options and future within the industry that I love.”

Change is underway. “The industry has traditionally been run by men. The participation of the woman is already greater today. This is already an incentive for women to stay and grow,” another respondent said.

Do you know a female leader in the digital printing industry who deserves to be recognized? If so, nominate her here to receive the Big Picture magazine’s Women in Print Award, which will be featured in the October issue and presented at SGIA Expo 2017.

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