In one of Europe’s most modern defense companies, 20 percent of positions are held by women.
Is the arms industry a typical men’s industry? Fabryka Broni “Łucznik” – Radom breaks this stereotype. One-fifth of its more than 500 employees are women, and their percentage is growing every year. What is also important is that the allegedly weaker sex work there not only for paperwork, but also as managers and experts. One of them is Joanna Romanowska, a specialist weapons designer who first entered the Radom plant when she was a student at the University of Military Technology (WAT) in Warsaw.
– I was a student in the design department. I met a lot of good people in the factory, I learned a lot from them, so I decided to return here for an internship after graduating from engineering, and then I started working after graduating from university, says Joanna Romanowska.
So the case was determined by chance? Incomplete. The industry and the nature of the work correspond to the personal interests of our hero.
– I love long-distance shooting. In my spare time, I read books, especially historical armor and modern armed conflicts – says a graduate of the University of Military Technology.
I do not feel any complexity with my friends. When he started working at Lucznik, he was taken to the company’s 100-meter shooting range to see how he could control a 5.56-mm Beryl rifle, the main weapon of the Polish army.
“I remember everyone was shocked that a woman could shoot so well,” Joanna Romanowska smiled.
Ability to exact sciences
The love of the army and weapons is pleasant, but proper research is a ticket to the industry. The problem starts here. According to a recent report by the Perspektywy Education Foundation, the percentage of female students in technical faculties (public universities) is 35 percent, although women make up 58 percent. Students in Poland. Do they all dream of becoming teachers, educators and school psychologists? Not worth it. Many women choose the humanities because they are convinced that technology, math, and manufacturing are the world of boys.
– Fortunately, it changes. More and more women are discovering their technical talents and abilities in the exact sciences, and their number in technical universities and polytechnics is growing systematically, says Anna Kowalczyk, a spokeswoman for Radom’s quality management system.
– We women have a better tendency than men to work in technical professions, and we perform better in these professions, – adds CNC machine operator Mirosława Frańczuk.
Similarly, Joanna Romanowska believes that technical education is for girls and that career choices should be determined by abilities and passions, not by gender.
– In high school I loved science: high level mathematics and computer science. That’s why I chose Warsaw University of Military Technology as my university. “I graduated from the Faculty of Mechatronics, Weapons and Aviation, and I graduated from the Faculty of Computer Science in Mechatronics,” says the designer.
Hand in hand with the boys
It seems that mixed production, engineering and management teams are the future of the armaments sector.
– In Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, women sit on the company’s board and manage technical issues. Changes can also be observed in our company: women usually work in technical fields, where men used to dominate. I mean first of all the design, technology and production departments – says Anna Kowalczyk.
How did he fall into the trap? After graduating from high school, he began working for one of the companies in Radom, according to his education (chemical technology), but did not live up to expectations. At that time, it was difficult to find a job in the market in the profession he studied. So I decided to change the industry. Because his wife is a professional soldier, she chose the arms industry.
– From March 2006, I have been working in the arms factory in the organizational department responsible for maintaining and continuously improving an effective and cost-effective quality management system in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001 and NATO AQAP standardization documents. – Anna Kowalczyk informs.
He admits that this field has become his passion and way of professional development. Over the years, he has improved his skills – he completed his postgraduate studies in economics, quality management systems and MBA.
According to Dr. Wojciech Arndt, head of the Radom plant, said that the strength of women’s leadership comes not only from education and the desire to learn continuously, but also from specific personality traits.
– We can learn from women their creativity, vision and ability to plan to achieve goals. Thanks to their high communication skills and leadership skills, they are able to manage teams perfectly and resolve conflicts, says President Arndt.
In 2023, military spending in Poland will increase by 3%. GDP. When planning the cost of technical modernization of the army, the government should take into account Poland’s industrial defense potential, as well as research and development in the field of state defense. For this you need a lot of qualified specialists and managers. This means that the expansion of women in the arms industry will not stop.