Celebrating women in the Manufacturing Industry

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating top talent from around our business, from innovation leaders and sustainability experts to quality specialists and product designers.


We’re passionate about creating an inclusive culture where diversity thrives and everyone has the opportunity to realise their potential. 

Through our core values of creating a caring, challenging and trusted culture, at DS Smith we support and celebrate women every single day.

Meet Rhiannon England and Jasmine Norton, Fibre & Paper Development Laboratory Technicians working in our Group R&D Fibre and Paper Development Laboratory

Here they reveal their experiences as young women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and their hopes for the future.

Jasmine Norton: "During my studies, the main challenges for me were being doubted and having other people in the class speak over me, which made it seem like my opinion wasn't valued as much.  It felt like I had a lot more to prove in order to be heard. That has led to a kind of ‘imposter syndrome’ and self-doubt on whether I actually deserve these opportunities. But I know I have the skills, and the degree, and have constantly proven myself to be good enough."

Rhiannon England: "It hasn’t been the easiest journey being a young woman in a heavily male dominated industry, but times are changing, and we are headed for a more diverse future.  There have been many instances where people are shocked to hear that I studied a degree in astrophysics and do understand what they are trying to explain to me. It can also sometimes be difficult to get your point across, or feel heard, and you do have to hold your own and develop confidence quickly."

Rhiannon England: "It is extremely important that we work towards achieving a more diverse workforce in STEM fields. While at school, I was the only girl in my A-Level Maths class, and one of three girls in Physics. This got better at university, but still only about 30-40% of our year group were women.  We should look at what barriers may be facing young women who are interested in STEM subjects and give them the support they need to carry out their goals. "

Jasmine Norton: "It is so important to attract not just women, but people from diverse backgrounds into STEM.  The only way to grow and to move on is to have diverse opinions. Things will grow so stagnant if you have no progress and no diversity, and people get stuck in the same mindset on what works and what doesn’t."

Rhiannon England: "I've always been passionate about environmental issues such as global warming and climate change. Most people dream of making a difference in the world but making a positive impact can be difficult to achieve.  What drives me every day is knowing that my work is taking an active role in reducing the number of single-use plastics on our planet and developing sustainable packaging solutions that will help combat the climate crisis. We work as a team to research, develop, and implement solutions to some of the biggest issues facing our generation."

Jasmine Norton: "The opportunities to learn are incredibly motivating for me. I’ve only worked here for three months but have already had a lot of training and learned new things. Experts from within DS Smith and beyond, come to visit the lab, so you get to see what everyone is researching and what is going on across the mill and the wider business."

The only way we're ever going to have female role models in STEM is if we encourage more women into the field. Over time, we’ll have more female scientists and more people making contributions.

Rhiannon England
Fibre & Paper Development Laboratory Technician

It is so important to attract not just women, but people from diverse backgrounds into STEM. The only way to grow and move on is to have diverse opinions.

Jasmine Norton
Fibre & Paper Development Laboratory Technician