Women's Voices at the Table

As more women complete education and/or training in technical fields, organizations like ASTM International are growing stronger due to their contributions to the global standardization community. We are doing everything possible to encourage even more girls and women to join the effort to “help our world work better.” 

I am thrilled, for example, that for the first time in our history, a majority of our incoming board members will likely be women — five of six, in fact. (Read about them here.) Their areas of expertise range widely — from lightweight metals to consumer products and everything in between. I should also note that Vicky Taylor of INVISTA (Canada) is slated to begin a two-year term as vice chair. 

I am confident that all of them will help guide ASTM International to an even brighter future, serving as role models for even more women to follow in their footsteps. And I want to thank the nominating committee for finding such great candidates overall.

On a broader level, ASTM International was one of a few international standards developers to sign on to the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe’s Declaration on Gender-Responsive Standards and Standards Development on May 14 at our Annual Business Meeting.

This reflects our commitment to both involving more women in the standards development process and working with our members to ensure that standards themselves are gender-responsive. Our vice president of global cooperation, Teresa Cendrowska, will be attending the first in-person meeting of the declaration’s signatories on Sept. 16 in South Africa.

Yet another milestone: Our prestigious Geotechnical Testing Journal (launched in 1978) has never had a woman editor. I’m pleased to announce that Nazli Yesiller, Ph.D., director of the Global Waste Research Institute at California Polytechnic State University, will change that, having accepted the role starting January 2021.

And of course, we will continue to reach out in the communities we serve locally. For example, we are hosting the Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals on Sept. 5 at our global headquarters.  

Attendees will learn how to get involved in standardization from Eileen Snyder of Alpha Analytical, a member of our environmental assessment, risk management, and corrective action committee (E50). They will also hear member perspectives from Terry Woods of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Joan Lawrence of the Toy Association. I look forward to that conversation and to hopefully welcoming a few more women members as a result.

We’re just getting started.  

Look for even more emphasis on diversity and inclusion overall in the months and years ahead, starting with a new video this month that spotlights women on a number of our technical committees.

We want to make sure women’s voices are both represented and heard at every table, whether that’s with our board and staff at our global headquarters or at one of our technical committee meetings on the other side of the world. Thank you for joining us in this important effort.

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