There appear to be very few women press operators in the printing industry. Unfortunately, the reasons for this situation are not clearly understood. To investigate this phenomenon, three different questionnaires were administered to the following groups:
human resource managers selected from the top local Rochester commercial printing companies listed in the Rochester Business Journal,
alumni from RIT's School of Print Media, and
women with press operation experience.
The main purpose of the first survey was to determine how many women were actually employed as press operators in Rochester, New York. If women weren't working as press operators, what positions did they hold? Most of the human resource managers in commercial printing in Rochester declined to answer the survey because of confidentiality issues.
Five human resource managers from local commercial printing companies completed the survey by phone. All five mentioned that there were no women press operators in their press departments. Most women are found in bindery and finishing departments or in other positions. A very few women worked in the pre-press and postpress departments.
Out of the 300 alumni in the School of Print Media database, 39 people were willing to answer the three main questions of the second survey. The questions they answered were where they work, what their positions were, and whether they knew any women who work as press operators.
This alumni survey was open to both males and females. Approximately 95% of the respondents did not know of, or see, any women press operators in their companies. This data is very strong additional evidence that there are few women press operators today.
For the third area of investigation, the researcher interviewed five women who had press operation experience. Only one of these women had a mentor. The others were fortunate enough to have had a good friend or supervisor to help them. A couple of the women press operators did mention that they received unequal pay for their work, but others felt that they had not been discriminated against. All of the women face similar challenges in their work as press operators due to the rapid growth of new technology, faster turnaround time expectations coupled with higher quality needs, and the occasional necessity of having to repair their own equipment. The reason for interviewing women is because they would be able to express their personal experiences and feelings about their press jobs. A women's input was very important to provide good information for this area of research.
The data from the surveys showed that there are few women working as press operators today. Thus, it would appear that the printing field is still male-dominated in the area of press operations. One valid reason for the lack of women working as press operators is that other positions have opened up for them to pursue in the printing field, such as color analyst, account executive, and customer service representative.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Women printings--New York (State); Printing industry--New York (State)
Print Media (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Przelski, Margaret, "Women in the Printing Industry: The Challenges of Women Press Operators" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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