Women in the world of welding technology
EWM sets an example
Women are still underrepresented in the world of welding. Especially in Germany, we find fewer female colleagues in the field of welding than in other European countries. But this is not the case at EWM AG, Germany’s largest manufacturer of arc welding technology: Here, women are a core element of the corporate culture.
This is a fact: In Germany, women choose technical professions less often than men do. According to official statistics, only about 15 percent of employees in the so-called STEM professions (sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics) were female in 2018. EWM AG is painting a different picture: Since its founding in 1957, the company has developed into one of the leading global providers of arc welding technology. It is a family business where different generations work side-by-side and there is a balance of genders at the management level. On 1 September 2020, Susanne Szczesny-Oßing became President of the Executive Board, which also includes her uncle Michael Szczesny (Head of the In-House Research & Development Department and Vice President), Robert Stöckl (Executive Board Sales), Stefan Szczesny (Site Manager for China and Russia), Jan Szczesny (Head of Technical Development) and Michael Bersch (Head of Finance & Controlling), and is completed by another woman: Wiebke Szczesny-Bersch shares the position of Head of Finance & Controlling with her husband. In addition, Angelika Szczesny-Kluge watches over the successful family business as Chair of the Supervisory Board. At EWM, “being a role model” is not just a family matter, but a woman’s responsibility as well.
Internally as well as outside the company, the Szczesny ladies act as role models and mentors for the next generation of women in the industry. Their commitment is also reflected in their voluntary work. To motivate young women to explore careers in welding technology, EWM is involved in the academic landscape, the promotion of women in technical fields, and the “Girls’ Day” initiative: This annual campaign day is intended to inspire young women to choose STEM careers. In addition, Susanne Szczesny-Oßing presides over the (formerly exclusively male) DVS (German Welding Society): a scientific and technical organisation.
Focus on training
EWM is also an attractive training enterprise that produces highly qualified specialists year after year. Among the commercial and technical trainees are a large number of young women learning technical professions, such as electronic engineers for machines and systems, joint welding specialists, specialist welding engineers, and many others. Within the family as well, efforts to support women are showing results. Hanna Oßing, an information technology student and daughter of the current President of the Executive Board, is yet another woman taking her place in an industry that is still rather male-dominated.
“At EWM, we practice equality – from trainees to expert welding engineers, from commercial employees to the warehouse and production staff, and not forgetting the management level. If we hope to break down gender stereotypes, we have to set an example. It is important to dismantle the existing preconceptions of what are typical male and female professions and industries. Of course, women also have a place in the “male domain” of welding technology. We enjoy living up to our motto “We Are Welding”. What counts are skills, passion and commitment – not a person’s gender,” says Susanne Szczesny-Oßing, President of the Executive Board at EWM AG. EWM shows by example how a professional life without preconceptions is not just preached, but practiced.
Date: 18 March 2020
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