Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day. In the U. S., we have made great strides throughout history when challenging the long-held traditions in our social, economic, cultural, and political arenas, but there is still a long way to go in the fight for gender equality.
The quest for equality is not just for women, but rather a part of the larger picture to seek equal opportunities for all. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, and we should not be defined by someone else’s bias. Instead, all points of view should be considered when critical decisions are made that affect our work, politics, education, and other aspects of our lives.
The Importance of Women in Engineering
Women bring a special viewpoint and set of leadership skills to the engineering industry. The pioneering women in engineering tend to inspire and motivate other women and minorities to pursue their passion and demand a place alongside their professional peers. For years, these women have had to break many barriers and often navigate a difficult path.
When I started in the industry 36 years ago, I was treated differently from my peers due to my gender. In one of my first assignments, I was given “women’s work” and instructed to sweep the lab rather than complete the asphalt testing with the other technicians. I wanted to use my college education and learn new skills, but like many other women around the world, I had to prove myself twice as much as my male counterparts.
My generation of women worked hard throughout our early careers to create a foundation of equality in the workforce by confronting gender biases and celebrating our success as equals. Although these efforts have improved the work environment for women everywhere, there is still more to do.
Many pioneering women have paved the path towards gender equality, but far too often we still hear about the first woman that... (fill in the blank). We will know we have reached true equality when a woman or a diversity candidate is no longer prefaced with the word “first.”
As a member of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) Committee at Horrocks, I am proud to promote equality alongside my team. I would like to pay homage to the women in our company, the women within the communities we serve, and the women throughout the world.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Karla Keller Senior Utility Engineer