There are no societies for men in mining. Yet there are many groups for women in mining. I think this is degrading to women, mining, and engineering in general. Let me tell you why I have this contrary opinion.
Today I got a call from my youngest daughter. She phoned in excitement to tell me she had just got a job. This would normally be a nothing-event. Yet in her case this is a perfect example of what makes America great. Let me explain without going into the gory details. She is nearly thirty. She has four kids and is the mother of the three additional kids the law told her she is responsible for by her first (now divorced) marriage.
She is one year away from getting her degree in civil engineering from a prestigious university. She got her high-school diploma and fled home to fly east to marry a beloved with three kids. She mothered them and three more babies in quick succession. Then she spent four years at the local community college. Hence to university, a new lover, and a forth baby.
Bu now you are tut-tutting. But she persisted. Met a third man-in-her-life and passed all the civil engineering exams with good results. A year of studies remains and she will be a civil engineer
Today she got a summer job with the engineering group of the local municipality. The pay is minimal, $10 and hour. They did say that if she proves out they want her back after graduation. I hope this is how it works out: a civil degree, a productive job with the municipality of a beautiful town, a successful career, and bringing up seven children.
I ask you: where else but America could this be a true story? Where else would such opportunities to change and advance be available for a woman of thirty with four kids and three more by marriage.
Rick Santorum would have her at home, poor, ignorant, bare-footed, and home-schooling the kids. Thanks God he has dropped out of the race and ceased to be a degrading attempt to represent the greatness & opportunity of America. My daughter belies all he said, believes, and tried to propagate. He is a narrow bigot and the Republicans must repudiate him.
She will be a good civil engineer. She won’t work in mining. But she will be a whole person, a mother, and a productive member of society.
As an aside, my eldest daughter is also a civil engineer, She works for a small consulting company that services the mining industry. Right now she is working on geotechnical issues on a mine in Mexico. Could I be more proud?
Funny thing is that my son is a political science graduate and now a Commandant in the US Navy. Yet he deals with thing engineering and tells me: “Dad, you need to understand people and systems to be a good engineering manager.” Well maybe. I do not mind paying the taxes it takes to support him in his activities.
Thus my point: women in civil engineering, in mining, or in anything else is passé. The concept is just a bad echo of a past, well past. Let us celebrate a great America where girls, now women, like my daughters can move ahead, learn, be engineers, mothers, and contributors to mining and society with no fear, no looking-back at past norms, or with any regard for the prejudices of their fathers.
PS. The picture above is not me He has but five grandkids. I have eight by blood and twelve by marriage.
PPS. If you want to understand all this in theoretical terms, I recommend that you read the bbok by Edward O. Wilson entitled The Social Conquest of Earth. Or better watch the opera by Rossini entitled Le Comte Ory. Both are fun and entertaining, but as always, the opera wins out.