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Diversity in Our Industry Will Only Be Seen through Strength in Numbers

In May, I was lucky enough to spend a day with some of the most respected women in the construction equipment industry, at the Women in Construction Equipment Distribution Roundtable in Chicago. Together, we discussed the need for a stronger presence of women in the industry, the benefits of having more women in the industry, how to encourage women into the industry and much more. The experience was eye-opening. It was also incredibly empowering and thought-provoking, for a number of reasons.

Not only did I and a few other AED members get to share the stories of our career paths and the sexism we’ve seen or experienced, but we also got the chance to hear from successful women in other careers, such as manufacturing and criminal justice. These women shared how their industries have been successful in bringing in women. They discussed their biggest challenges in their careers, how their industry’s attitude has changed toward women, and the many issues that women tend to face in their careers.
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We then broke into groups to have roundtable discussions about three important questions facing women in the construction equipment industry:

1.      How do we attract more women to individual businesses and to the industry?
2.      How can we support one another, as well as other women?
3.      What can AED do moving forward to encourage women?

There were a few major takeaways that I think are important to share with you. For one, the phrase “strength in numbers” was proven true and was extremely evident during this event. A lot of great ideas were offered for how to increase the number of women in the industry, many of which were unique and interesting perspectives that would never have been shared were it not for these roundtable discussions. Together, we can come up with many possible ways to increase diversity in this industry that we might not think of on our own. We are stronger together than we are separate.

Another important takeaway is the need for everyone’s support and encouragement to increase diversification in our industry. Many women who attended this event suggested the importance of getting men in the room, having them hear our ideas and struggles and, again, using our collective power to make change happen. This issue is more than just our own; it is everyone’s issue, and we won’t see change unless everyone is working toward the same goal. Although this might be one of the biggest obstacles that we face, it seems to be a very important aspect of success in diversification.
We all left the roundtable feeling empowered and excited for the future, and I look forward to helping and working with AED as it leads the charge for change after the success of this event. Keep an eye out for things to come.

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