Dear friends, yesterday afternoon I attended the 2015 Athena Swan Conference at a local university, the theme being “Building Success” it was focusing on women in the construction industry and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects. It was very interesting to hear the ‘how I got here’ stories and how I could relate to the incidents they shared. The RIBA President Elect spoke of how in school her art teachers found her drawing buildings while the other girls (she attended a girls school) were all sketching flowers. And the Head of Estates spoke of attending meetings where she would speak but be completely looked over by male clients or consultants. I remembered attending site, within the last couple of years with an engineer, contractor, subcontractors and a supplier – the supplier had no idea I was the architect and continued to address the male engineer until a question was raised and he said “oh, you’ll have to ask the architect,” at which point the supplier rather sheepishly turned to realising the black woman taking notes was, next to the building owner, the one calling all the shots, so to speak!
surplus talent facing deficit opportunity
This is the phrase that struck me during a talk concerning the ‘leakage’ of women at every stage of a STEM education and career. And I thought on how blessed I am to have been able to return to this career that I love after 12 years away (that story is worthy of a blog post on its own) and that the Lord has blessed me with these skills which have allowed me to sustain our family and to serve others.
Another great image and (Peanuts – Frieda character) quote from yesterday:
People always expect more of you when you have naturally curly hair
And what I took from that, as a naturally very curly hair person, is that some people will always make a judgement based on the outside, what you look like.
Fortunately, what really matters and what God sees is on the inside.
for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart