In anticipation, Jonna Gerken, SWE president and PCME manager at Pratt & Whitney shared with us her female role model.
Lillian Moller Gilbreth is one of my heroes because she was a pioneer for women in engineering. Along with her husband, Frank, she developed the basis for what is now widely taught as the basic criteria for time and motion studies. Using her family as 'test subjects,' the pair determined the best and most efficient ways to complete everyday tasks, reduce fatigue, improve worker satisfaction, and along the way create what is now known as the field of ergonomics.
Although not an engineer by degree, she had the mind of one- using her psychology degree to figure out ways to improve worker efficiency, not just by reviewing the work steps, but by improving workplace design, recommending worker benefits such as coffee breaks, and understanding the need for proper lighting & seating in the workplace.
As an Industrial Engineer, we spent a lot of time in school studying the principles first developed by the Gilbreth's. But not until you know the woman behind the work do you really understand the incredible achievement. In a time where very few women worked at all, Gilbreth was able to have a successful career, a large family, and leave an enduring legacy for the generations of women to follow.
On August 26th, or in the days leading up, share a photo of your female role model with the hashtags #SeeHerBeHer and #WomensEqualityDay. Tag SWE and FIRST in your post so we can interact with you!
In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26th as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.
SWE and FIRST have a common goal to support diversity and inclusion in engineering, technology and all other disciplines, and supporting women is at the core of that focus. Both organizations are actively engaged in developing strategies and creating programs that empower women to reach their fullest potential. With the #SeeHerBeHer campaign for #WomensEqualityDay, we hope to create a conversation, to inspire sharing and to empower women to advance and succeed wherever and whenever they are!
To join the movement, make sure to follow FIRST and SWE on Twitter: