Metal AM Spring 2021

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Women in 3D Printing

Why do we need Women in 3D Printing? The what, the who, and the why of the blog that became a movement Since 2014, Women in 3D Printing has grown to become a highly visible and influential international organisation. But what does the movement stand for, why is it proving to be so popular, and where does it go from here? Metal AM magazine's Emily-Jo Hopson-VandenBos spoke with the group's founder, Nore Toure, and fifteen members about their views of the organisation and the current status of women in the industry. These conversations reveal not only the challenges that we face to improve diversity in its broadest sense, but also the tangible benefits that members are seeing at both the personal and organisational level.

Between January 27–28, 2021, the TIPE Women in 3D Printing conference hosted 147 women speakers on its programme of over forty presentations, and was attended by 1,600 participants. Across the two-day programme, supported by 120+ participating companies, could be found a who’s who of AM industry talent: from the five women appearing on the ‘Being a CEO in AM’ panel on day one (Fig. 1), to leading figures in aerospace and automotive AM, to a crop of high-level global researchers. It would be fair to say that, for the first conference held by non-profit organisation Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP), the scale of success and surrounding industry buzz was a surprise to many. Since the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) early in 2020, leading to widespread travel bans and industry disruption, the vast majority of industry events have moved online, with mixed results. While the energy and willingness to attend events from home was high in the early months of the pandemic, twelve months on, ‘Zoom fatigue’ and a rather jaded view

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of the content offered at some digital events has, to some extent, diminished collective enthusiasm. The TIPE conference, however, saw a renewed level of enthusiasm for all involved, speakers and attendees alike. Why? Perhaps this can be put down to the speaker list: In an industry made up, according to the most recent statistics held by Women in

3D Printing, of only 13% women, and with only 11% of businesses owned or managed by women, the organisers of TIPE filled two days of high-level presentations with a 100% female speaker list. Compare this to the programmes of the majority of industry events and it becomes clear where TIPE found the novelty factor to engage a somewhat fatigued AM community.

Fig. 1 Screenshot from TIPE Women in 3D Printing conference panel Being a CEO in AM. From left to right: Moderator Debbie Holton (Managing Director, Industry Events, ASME), Melanie Lang (CEO, FormAlloy), Christina Perla (CEO, Makelab), Ellen Kullman (President and CEO, Carbon) and Kay Matin (President, AlphaSTAR) (Courtesy Women in 3D Printing)

Metal Additive Manufacturing | Spring 2021