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Connect 2023, the global print and packaging software conference, tackled the issue of women in the industry, with a special lunch session examining how to attract more young women into print.

The panel discussion led by eProductivity Software vice-president global marketing Carrie Klepzig, highlighted challenging numbers, in the technology sector at least, where there are today a lower percentage of women at executive level than two years ago, with 11 per cent of leaders women compared with 13 per cent in 2020. 

Attracting women into print: Connect 2023
Attracting women into print at Connect 2023: Sonia Shwabsky (far left) and Charlotte Tueckmantel, general manager, eProductivity Software (2nd left) with Carrie Klepzig, vice president global marketing

Klepzig revealed that while 39 per cent of entry level staff and interns were women, only 23 per cent followed that through into a career. She then invited the audience to consider how to get the message over to young women that print and packaging is a great career.

The panel featured Sonia Shwabsky, CEO of Kwik Kopy Australia, who shared her journey from becoming general manager of the male-centric King Gee business at age 32, to her time in Nicaragua, and then entering the Australian print industry to lead the transition to digital. Shwabsky said the high level creativity and innovation in print should be promoted to attract women.

Among the other panellists, Lucy Swanston, managing director of Nutshell Creative, said the social purpose of print made her proud to work in the industry, while Jessica Lobo from the United Nations said the current focus of print and packaging on sustainability could also be used to attract young women, with staff at the UN working in sustainability predominantly female. Melissa Harvan, vice-president HR at eProductivity Software, said it is an ‘intoxicating’ industry and encouraged women to believe in themselves.

Once the panellists had spoken, the audience tables discussed the issue and shared their experiences, before Klepzig invited them to share the findings.

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