This paper is intended to highlight roles that women can and likely will play in shaping the future of NDE 4.0, from execution to leadership levels as well as from development to transformation activities. As we build momentum toward adopting Industry 4.0 into the nondestructive evaluation (NDE) domain, we face multiple challenges such as technology standardization, talent and skills shortfall, massive transformation, and regulatory and certification standards (Singh 2019, 2020a). Many of these challenges are better addressed with a proper mix of gender in responsible teams. Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are a source of talent that can be harnessed as digitalization becomes a major part of the NDE sector. According to a recent Forbes article, traits like listening and empathy serve women well in “change leadership,” which is the ability to influence and inspire action in others and respond with vision and agility during periods of growth, disruption, or uncertainty to bring about the needed change (Lipkin 2019). While working the innovation value chain, emotional intelligence makes women better suited to capturing marketplace insight and easing friction in technology adoption, and a balance of gender in a team makes for more productive ideation sessions for effective problem-solving and objective execution. This paper presents literature research triggered by personal experience and substantiated by recent candid conversations with women leaders in NDE, to highlight the importance of a blended and balanced gender mix required for NDE 4.0.
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