On Resilience and Well-Being

While the impacts of COVID have been felt globally, women’s experiences have been similar yet different depending upon the policies and practices of their companies and countries.

Two years into the global pandemic and what have we learned during this most trying of times? Eager to have it behind us, the timetable is uncertain, yet life must still be lived. How can we do so in a manner that provides the most value, meaning, and sense of well-being — despite COVID, economic pressures, upheaval, and remote work and school that blends everything into a continuous, 24/7 world of work and responsibilities? The themes explored in this issue coalesce around notions of resilience and well-being, with insights on strategies and approaches to prioritize work/life balance and mental health.

Our lead article, “Leadership for a New Resilience,” addresses the collective stress brought by the pandemic and how women engineers in leadership positions have “learned to proactively listen, respond, and look through the lenses of others.” Doing so has translated into the ability to reach out, to create safe spaces, to provide strength and support to self and others. 

While the impacts of COVID have been felt globally, women’s experiences have been similar yet different depending upon the policies and practices of their companies and countries. In another feature related to well-being, “Advancing Careers While Caring for Others,” we examine both data and the lived experiences of women engineers in places as varied as the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, India, and Nigeria. The information and insights discussed provide both food for thought and fuel for enacting improved workplace policies.

Another critical experience during the pandemic is considered in our feature “Disruptions Move Supply Chain into the Spotlight.” The otherwise unseen supply chain has become both “top of news and top of mind” according to the article, yet well before COVID-19 the supply chain industry was facing many challenges. Speaking to women engineers working in this field, we discuss the self-reflection taking place in the industry, lessons learned, and leveraging the experience to make supply chains not only more agile, but improved overall.

When life circumstances require stepping away from work, is there a road back? Our digital exclusive article, “Reentry Programs Bring Back Skilled, Savvy Workers,” highlights the experiences of women engineers who not only left the workforce for varied periods of time, but who also found their way back through innovative programs that catapulted their skills and experiences into new, meaningful career paths. Available only in our digital magazine, please visit magazine.swe.org.

Our recap of WE21, SWE’s annual conference, highlights key points from last October’s hybrid event. The collective energy that emerges when the SWE community comes together, whether in person or virtually, is palpable. And in keeping with that energy and the conference theme, “Aspire to Inspire,” it provides the momentum to move forward to do exactly that. The Achievement Award recipient’s remarks, among other aspects of our coverage, captures the inspiration and encouragement found in our coming together. 

Lastly, please check out our News & Advocacy section for the latest on the World Economic Forum’s data on the global gender gap; a retrofitted, net-zero building; SWE Magazine’s recent accolades; and insights on career pathways. Our Voices & Views section contains a variety of reflections on life, work, transitions, and more.

Anne Perusek
Director of Editorial & Publications