ASSE: More Women Entering, Excelling in SH&E Field

The safety, health, and environmental profession is seeing more women achieving their Certified Safety Professional (CSP) accreditation while also, not coincidentally, taking less time to climb the proverbial ladder to assume management roles. So said presenters recently at a "Women in Safety" forum hosted by the American Society of Safety Engineers student section at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Safety Sciences Departmental Teaching Circle at IUP.

Designed to address the challenges facing women in the occupational SH&E industry, the evolution of women in safety, and the role of women in the future of the profession, the forum focused in part on identifying some of the gender-based struggles encountered in the workplace and broadening the understanding of women's capabilities in the field.

"As of 2005, women still made $0.76 for every dollar a man made in a similar job with similar skills and experience," said ASSE Western Pennsylvania Chapter President Pam Ferrante in her keynote address, discussing the challenges faced by women in the workforce. "A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in 2004 found that 93 percent of women surveyed accepted the first salary offer, more than half of [what] the men used as a starting point and typically ended up with more money." However, most of the presenters at the forum indicated that they have not faced many gender-based struggles in the safety and health profession.

"We are starting to see more women enter the safety, health and environmental field," said Tracey Cekada, PhD, CSP, CHSP, who helped organize the forum. "We are also starting to see more women assume management roles in the SH&E profession, climb ‘the ladder’ faster and obtain their certified safety professional accreditation.

"Women have to understand that they are considered valuable to the profession, especially by those they are working with," Cekada added.

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