Then & Now: Women in the Workplace

by Paige Knorek.

Welcome to the third installment of Women in the Workplace Series. If you’d like to read the previous articles, check out the links below!

Interview with Pat Thoen

Interview with Becky Iverson

As the newest employee contributing to that 11% statistic at Douglas Machine, I was surprised with the opportunity to write an article on the topic “Douglas – Then & Now.” I’m still learning about Douglas now, in addition to the rich history of Douglas over the years! After considering the possibilities, however, I decided to narrow my focus to a topic I was truly curious about: the women who have been employed at Douglas since the company was first established in 1964.

In order to get a credible perspective on this topic, I interviewed seven women, including one retiree and six current employees. Their work spans every decade of Douglas’s existence—and therefore provides insight into the experiences of women in the workplace over time, the variety of work that women have contributed to Douglas, and their advice for women who are interested in working in a similar industry.

Interview with Therese Jakes

1. How long have you worked at Douglas, and in what position/s?

THERESE: 29 years; Computer Operator, Computer Operator/Programmer, Systems Administrator.

2. What drew you to this line of work? What specifically brought you to Douglas?

THERESE: I went to school for Mainframe Programming. I like programming and the sense of accomplishment when your program helps others or improves processes. I applied for the open Computer Operator position at Douglas and was accepted. My position has changed over the years as technology has changed.

3. In a nutshell, what do you do?

THERESE: I create UserIDs, secure network files, administer the mail servers and program.

4. Were you married and/or were you raising a family when you started working at Douglas?

THERESE: Single.

5. Was it usual for women to be working at the time when you started? Did many of your friends and female peers work?

THERESE: Yes, they worked—a lot of them did.

6. How many of the people on your team are also female? What is that like?

THERESE: There are just two other females in our department. It’s nice to have a variety of male and female coworkers with different skill sets.           

7. In your opinion, how has the role of women in the workplace changed over time?Why do you think those changes have occurred?

THERESE: The role of women in the workplace has changed over time with more women working to contribute to the family income — and also women are going into all variety of job positions.

8. If you were to guess, what percentage of Douglas employees today do you think are women?

THERESE: Maybe 5%? 10%?

9. What advice would you give women who are considering working in this industry?

THERESE: My advice is to go into a profession that interests you and that you have a passion for.

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