From New Ways to Think About Resilience to Learning from History to Advocacy

The Winter 2022 issue’s focus, Leadership for a New Resilience, kicked off the winter/spring period of the SWE year with a thought-provoking examination of leadership qualities that came into being as a direct result of the COVID pandemic (https://magazine.swe.org/leadership-for-a-new-resilience/). Based on interviews with three women engineering leaders at very different companies, a picture emerged of greater priorities on mental health, empathy, and work/life balance in the workplace, whether in person or virtual. A follow-up podcast of the same title (https://bit.ly/3yqCSma) included further reflection on insights gained both personally and professionally as a result of the difficulties posed by the pandemic.

The pandemic was addressed elsewhere in the issue, with the feature “Advancing Careers While Caring for Others” (https://magazine.swe.org/advancing-careers/), which addressed how women’s experiences differ drastically around the world based on the policies and practices that are in place to support professionals who also serve as caregivers. Another feature, “Disruptions Move Supply Chain into the Spotlight” (https://magazine.swe.org/supply-chain/), discussed how even before the pandemic the supply chain industry had its own set of challenges. Interviews with women engineers in the field provided an inside look at the issues.

Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March brought a number of podcasts that shed light on specific aspects of history and/or the lived experiences of individuals. Providing information and food for thought, they included “Is It a Segregation or Selective Memory? A Discussion with Vi Brown” (https://bit.ly/3wd55dq), which discussed the affluent Black Wall Street in Tulsa and the events that led to the 1921 riot there, plus the conspiracy of silence that followed, and “Black Women Engineers in Leadership Roles with Tarolyn Buckles” (https://bit.ly/389RMCL), in which the president and CEO of a woman- and minority-owned small business discusses her leadership style and offers advice for other young women who want to start their own businesses.

Leading up to SWE’s congressional visits in late March, there was a great deal of social media activity surrounding SWE’s talking points for the event and experiences during the visits. As an example:

“SWE members are talking to Congress today about the STEM Restart Act + other issues important to Women in STEM. Thanks Sen. Jacky Rosen, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan, Congressman Jim Baird for a bipartisan bill that will get STEM workers back to work! #STEM #SWEAdvocacy https://tinyurl.com/yzw2pf5a

Coinciding with congressional visits, SWE released the State of Women in Engineering issue. The centerpiece of the issue was a retrospective analyzing the past 20 years of SWE’s annual literature reviews — comprising two decades of interesting and timely research. Additional articles covered the latest SWE research studies and information on gender equity issues in the research and policy spheres. A link to the digital issue was provided to each member of Congress as a follow-up to the SWE visits.

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