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August 7, 2015
When I was in first grade, my teacher told me I couldn’t realize my dreams. Why? “Because you’re a girl and that is the rule,” she said.
Looking back, aspiring to be shortstop for the Chicago Cubs was not realistic given my athletic abilities. But now, more than 40 years later, we're still waiting for a change. For women to be recognized for their abilities and not judged solely on their likeability or looks. For women with families to not be disadvantaged in their careers. For women to take hold of the opportunity to be anything they want to be.
It's up to all of us to pave the way for that first grader…for all those kids who are dreaming about who they want to be. In four decades, I've learned deep change and needed leadership can come from lots of places... athletes, presidents and even directors of HR in corporate America. And certainly from females demanding recognition beyond their looks.
Isis Wenger, a 22-year-old platform engineer from OneLogin was recently part of her company’s recruiting campaign in San Francisco, California. The self-described “science nerd” didn’t expect anything to come of it … but after the campaign was launched, many people took to social media to express their thoughts on it – mostly focusing on Wenger’s gender and how she doesn’t look like a “typical” engineer. Wenger took to social media and started the #iLookLikeAnEngineer trend.
Caterpillar is proud to employ many smart, talented, innovative and fearless female engineers. The fact is, we don’t employ enough. We’re below the manufacturing industry average and I’m not proud of this. I’m vocalizing this because as Caterpillar’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Director, I intend to make a change. This is a culture change that won’t happen overnight, but it will be a priority in our D&I journey for years to come.
Caterpillar women from around the world are sharing their own stories of being an engineer. I invite you to join us on Twitter @CaterpillarInc in recognizing that #iLookLikeAnEngineer at Caterpillar looks like global diversity and inclusion in action!
Let’s see what we can do together!
Caterpillar Global Diversity & Inclusion Director