It’s not always easy being a woman in the 3D printing industry, or indeed any science or technology field. These fields have been traditionally geared towards men, and it’s taken extra work for women to break through. Women have broken through, however, and have been helped by organizations such as Women in 3D Printing, whose purpose is to support and promote women working in the 3D printing industry. Women in 3D Printing was founded at the end of 2014 by Nora Touré, and is growing into a widespread organization reaching women across North America and Europe.
Women in 3D Printing, along with profiling prominent women in the 3D printing industry, has several local chapters where monthly meetups invite women to come connect with other women in the industry, both veterans and newcomers. Recently, the United Kingdom received its first chapter, located in London and led by Kadine James, 3D Tech Lead at Hobs Studio, which will serve as the host for the new chapter. Hobs Studio is the largest 3D printing service bureau in the United Kingdom and recently moved to Here East, a 1.2 million-square-foot campus located in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
James has more than six years’ experience in 3D printing, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. A STEM Ambassador and technology correspondent with Planning TV, she is especially committed to supporting and educating young people in technology. As a maker and virtual reality creator and producer, she produced the largest Master Plan Project in the United Kingdom, and also curates 3D printing and virtual reality projects for the public, along with working with leading musical artists.
“We are very excited to expand our local Wi3DP chapters,” Touré told 3DPrint.com. “We started those casual meetups in the SF Bay Area on Sept. 2017, then launched them in Paris, France in January 2018, with Jennnifer Shin. The UK is big on innovation and it is only logical for us to come to this region by offering a local chapter of Women in 3D Printing meetups. Kadine is an amazing ‘women in tech’ ambassador and has a very impressive background in 3D Printing, VR and AR. When she offered me her help in building the UK community for Women in 3D Printing, I immediately said yes!”
The first Women in 3D Printing London meetup took place on May 1st. London is not the only city to receive a new chapter of Women in 3D Printing this year; in fact, several more will be joining the growing list of locations. Winnipeg will have its first meeting on June 6th, while New York City’s new chapter will launch on June 21st. Seattle will host its first meetup on July 12th, and Munich will hold its first meeting on June 7th. Denver will hold its first meetup on August 16th.
“I am thrilled to launch the UK Chapter of Wi3DP – London with Nora Toure, our first event took place at Hobs3D the largest 3D Printing bureau in Europe at our new studios at Here East,” James told 3DPrint.com. “Our next event is scheduled to take place on 5 of June at Plexal and with many other exciting events and meets up over the summer aimed at growing the network and celebrating women in technology.
“The Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) network, is a global community that connects and celebrates women in tech and rapid prototyping.
“Here in the UK and across the globe both Nora and I are on a mission to encourage more women and diverse teams to participate in the use of 3D printing technologies along with exploring the use of multiple materials as digital product designers, product managers, developers, coders and makers. We want to encourage more female founders of their own companies, on-top-of creating more jobs for women in STEAM.
“…WI3DP has become a global movement that supports its growing community of women and girls in the tech space through events, mentorship and educational programs with its network of local ambassadors and partners. Our community is composed of startup, founders, SME’s, industry experts, accelerators, incubators, STEAM organisations, bloggers, journalists, digital leaders, investors, academics and makers. Wi3DP is for anyone with an interest in rapid prototyping and technology, we aim to provide a platform for all women to learn, grow and to connect.”
Several other Women in 3D Printing chapters are in the works, soon to be confirmed. You can see information here for meetups in Europe, and here for meetups in North America; more information about the Wi3DP team and local ambassadors is available here.
It’s encouraging to see this organization spread around the world, giving women everywhere a chance to network, for veterans to share their expertise and for newcomers to learn from the experts. It may not always be easy to be a woman in 3D printing, but having a network of other women for support and shared resources certainly makes it much easier. Wi3DP meetups are open to anyone, women and men, as the community looks to foster overall growth.
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