In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2020) and Women’s History Month, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is shining a well-deserved bright light on the hard-working, dedicated women in the solid waste industry.
Their month-long campaign, Celebrating Women in the Industry, shares the story of a new solid waste professional each week. Elizabeth Roe, Eco Partners President, was honored to be included in the series. In the feature, Elizabeth shares that, “In the early years, many of the people in the education and communications jobs were women, many of whom had come from education, local government administration, or communications shops. So, I always felt very much a part of the team because I brought skills to the table that others on the team generally did not have.”
Elizabeth added, “I was often the only woman at the table, whether with municipal boards, elected officials or staff. At the time, the work I did was seen as a ‘girl’s’ job, so there wasn’t a sense that the role I was filling should have been, or would have been, done by a man. Because of that, I think I had a really unique experience in the industry compared to other women my age.”
Sarah Beidleman, SWANA’s Marketing Coordinator, interviewed the selected SWANA members about their experiences, careers, and work in the industry. According to Beidleman, “The majority, especially those in engineering and operations, said they were the only one or one of a few women working for their organization when they started 20 to 30 years ago. Many said they felt more pressure to prove themselves than the men they worked with.”
According to Beidleman, “In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, more women began joining the solid waste industry with the growing need to spread recycling education to the public. Women became a crucial part in what we know as solid waste management today.”
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