By Per Loof, April 10, 2015
As part of this year’s Festival of Arts at Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida, I had the opportunity to view the film Girl Rising and participate in a panel discussion afterwards. This documentary tells the story of nine girls from around the world who faced the heartbreaking and unimaginable challenges of human trafficking, arranged marriage, abuse, slavery and homelessness. Each girl in this film is special and represents the millions of young women globally who are not currently receiving an education. However, through the power of education, these young women were able to overcome their situations and better themselves.
In addition to my duties as CEO of KEMET, I am a member of the Board for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. While considering the mission of this organization and after viewing this touching film, my thoughts turned to how we must increase awareness of the need for more educational opportunities for women.
At KEMET, we are doing our part to empower women outside the United States and in the developing world. In our factory in Suzhou, China, we have over 1,300 employees, 41% of which are female. Of this percentage, 45 women hold the position of engineer (out of a total of 132, or 34%) and seven hold the position of manager (out of a total of 31, or 23%). Further, our Suzhou facility’s General Manager is a woman with an extensive education, including a B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.
Turning to Mexico and looking at our campuses in Matamoros, Monterrey and Victoria, we have over 5,200 employees, half of which are women. This includes 98 women in the positions of engineer, manager or director (or 37% of the 263 total upper level positions).
At our factories in Portugal, Macedonia and Bulgaria, we have approximately 660 employees. 48% of these employees are women and 40 of them hold the positions of engineer, manager or director (or 34% of all upper level positions at this location).
While it’s just a drop in the bucket, I believe our efforts to empower women in our global manufacturing facilities are a step in the right direction. To that end, I would encourage you to invest 101 minutes of your time to watch this educational and moving film.