Your Interview Jo Harding


Jo Harding

How long have you been involved in the lighting industry in total?

32 years.

Have you always been involved in the manufacturing side or have you come from another part of the industry?

Always been involved in manufacturing. More recently working as a consultant for the last 8 years but with couple clients as manufacturers.

Do you feel that there is a wider diversity in sales, manufacturing and marketing over the last 20 years?

Yes I do although I don’t know what % increase from previous.

What reasons do you think there are so few women working for manufacturing companies? What obstacles do women come up against?

Historically manufacturing has been very male dominated apart from many women who work on the production lines. There are still few women in senior and middle management from my experience. Engineering is still male dominated so the engineering side of manufacturing remains that way. We need to continue to encourage more young women to go into engineering via initiatives like STEM. We need more women on boards in lighting manufacturing and this will encourage more diversity top down in my view.

How do you think more women can be encouraged into this side of the lighting industry? What can manufactures do to encourage a diversity of applicants for roles in sales and product development for example?

There needs to be deliberate policies to encourage women – as the LIA is primarily populated by men this presents a challenge in itself... maybe the manufacturing members of groups like Women in Lighting should present to them. They should have more women represented in the decision making…

What are the positives of working for a manufacturer? What are the negatives?

I find this a difficult question to answer as a company culture and its people make it good to work in and not sure there are certain characteristics that make manufacturing different.

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