I want to applaud the efforts of the Deep Foundations Institute Educational Trust. The group, together with the DFI's new Women in Deep Foundations Committee, recently rolled out a professional development grant to attend the upcoming 40th annual Conference on Deep Foundations in Oakland, Calif., Oct. 12-15. The grant would provide $2,500 to cover travel and expenses to attend the event. It is intended to foster the careers of promising young female professionals in the deep foundations industry.
Raise your hand if you have a young daughter at home. I do. I spend a lot of time telling her that she can grow up to be anything she wants. If she asks about President Obama, I'm sure to work into the conversation somewhere that she could be president when she grows up. If she asks about seeing a police officer, I let her know that is a valid career path for a young woman.
She works with her hands a lot and has lately been designing 3-D models from toothpicks and marshmallows. That sounds like the skills of a budding engineer to me. So, I let her know that little girls can grow up to be engineers and design great things.
One figure that I keep seeing online is that in a room of 25 engineers only three of them will be women. Out in the field where the plans and ideas of those engineers get tested and implemented, I suspect the picture isn't much different. So the efforts of the DFI and its Educational Trust are needed.
Let's face it, drilling — whether it's foundation drilling, geotechnical drilling, or any other drilling sector — is a boys club. It shows in my readership, where nine out of 10 people who pick up my magazine are men. When I attend industry events, most of the drillers and consulting engineers I meet are men. Often, they'll have their wives in tow. There's nothing wrong with being a supporting wife to a striving civil or foundation engineer. But at the same time we should do everything we can to support our daughters, sisters and female colleagues as they climb the ladders in foundation engineering and other fields.
As in just about any other field from politics to aviation, women bring valid and valuable perspective to the foundations and geotechnical fields. That perspective can make for a more stable industry, as well as more stable foundations, dams, highways and other structures built by its skilled professionals.
If you have a daughter, sister or female colleague who would be a good candidate for this DFI grant, be sure to have them apply here. Even if it brings just one more woman into these male-dominated fields, your efforts will be worth it.
What do you think? Send me an email to tell me about the efforts of your company to mentor and support women entering these fields.
Stay safe out there, drillers.