I was reading the comments on an article about electric vehicles — yeah, I know: Never read the comments! — when I saw one from a person whinging that the article was written by a woman. "Women aren't into cars," the commenter said.
So... we're still at that level?
The article was about Ford's electric F-150, which happens to have a woman, Linda Zhang, as its chief engineer. Zhang is also chief engineer for the entire F-150 lineup.
And, of course, the person in the top seat at General Motors Co. is a woman.
Shortly before reading that story, I'd listened to a report about a majority-female pit crew whose team won a spot at the Indy 500 race.
Look, we shouldn't still be in a place where women are seen as an unexpected presence on shop floors, design studios, materials labs or corner offices. But yet we are.
That's why Plastics News' Women Breaking the Mold special report each year — and a networking conference — continues to be important. Too often we're still seen as an exception, rather than a regular part of the workforce at every level.
Women Breaking the Mold allows our readers to read about a range of women in careers that mirror the work of the industry as a whole. Women are leading companies and leading on the manufacturing floor. They can set up machines and buy and sell resins.
Now it's time to recognize women who are leaders in the plastics industry. This requires women themselves to speak up.
We're looking for nominations for the class of 2021 for Women Breaking the Mold. You can nominate someone you know, or nominate yourself.
We're asking for some basic background information as well as some insight as to what molds you're breaking.
There's no age limit. We want to know about women who are just entering the industry with big plans for how they can impact the world. At the same time, we'd love to hear from women who may be further in their careers but are finding new ways to contribute or, perhaps, lending a hand to others just moving up the career ladder.
Personally, I'd love to hear from people with nontraditional backgrounds. How about someone who returned to the classroom or workforce after raising a family, providing proof that molds can be broken at any stage of life.
And after the past year, it would be great to hear more about how women helped their employees and their companies weather the pandemic.
We'll use responses to the nomination form to help shape editorial coverage. Features on this year's Women Breaking the Mold will go into the July 26 issue of Plastics News.
The deadline for submissions is June 21. Go to www.plasticsnews.com/wbmsurvey to start your nomination.