“It’s not the first time that we’ve looked at women in the glass industry. But when we worked up our editorial calendar the year before, we had to put it on there,” Ellen Rogers, editorial/content director for Key Media & Research, publisher of USGlass Magazine, said. “But I didn’t want to do the same thing we had done before.”
“So we decided to break it up into a few different pieces,” Rogers told me on a Zoom call last week. I was asking her about their December 2022 issue titled Women in the Industry—a 2023 Neal Awards finalist for Best Subject-Related Package.
“We had the individual profiles of several women, but we really wanted to find women who are making a difference—who are in those roles that you would not think about a woman [in this field] doing, scientists, researchers, CEO. We wanted to show what it’s really like to be a woman in this industry, and find the differences in the way women typically manage.
Tension will mount next Friday, April 21, at the Marriott Marquis in New York as the 69th Annual Neal Awards are presented. There are an amazing 215 finalists, all with wonderful stories to tell. But a package like the one Rogers orchestrated shows how you can put new spins on familiar themes.
“There was a mother and daughter who work together, because a lot of times you see a father and son. Then I was just going to write this small sidebar about women who do the glass installation, who have gone through the certification course. But the more I got into it, the more I realized there’s so much involved in being a woman on a job site. They don’t have their own bathroom. One of the biggest issues that they deal with is their personal protective equipment—it’s just not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.”
That reminded me of when NASA forgot to design suits for the woman astronauts. Articles in this issue included:
No Limits – Recognizing some of the many women of the glass and glazing industry.
Reflections From the Glass Ceiling – Women in the glass industry share insight into leadership styles, mentorship and more.
Shattered Glass – Women are finding their place in the glazing trade, breaking down barriers and stereotypes to prove that they, too, can do tough jobs.
Walking the Tightrope – Balancing work life and personal life for success.
“One of the biggest issues for women working in construction is child care, because most of construction jobs are like a 7 am to 4 pm thing,” said Rogers, (pictured here holding a winning Neal Award from last year). “And daycare doesn’t open at 6 o’clock in the morning if they need to drop a child off. So it’s those kinds of things [that need to happen] to encourage more women to enter the field. There’s a lot of opportunity right now for people to get involved in this industry. We need women workers.”
Not only did the package get nominated as a Neal Awards finalist, but the announcement came on International Women’s Day.
“That really just made my day; it was very cool,” Rogers said. “I was so happy with the way it all came together because we’re a women-owned company, our publisher is a woman, and then those of us who worked on the content are women. So I truly felt that it was all of our efforts coming together to create this really significant piece. And we got a lot of tremendous feedback from the industry as well. So that was just [icing on the cake].”
Another advantage of doing an issue like this is you come out of it with a whole new list of references for future stories.
“Absolutely,” Rogers said. “That’s more diversity for us. That’s one of the great things about it, particularly this one, because I did encounter a lot of, like you said, people who I hadn’t talked with before. I always like finding new voices to bring in to the story.
“I’ve been in this industry for 23 years, and I remember the first time I went to one of our conferences, there might have been a couple of other women in a room of 200 people,” she said. “So over the past two decades, I have seen, especially now, a lot more. But we’re still the minority.”
And as great journalism like this shows, an accomplished and growing minority.