Then & Now: Women in the Workplace

by Paige Knorek.

Welcome to the second installment of Women in the Workplace Series. You can read the first article in the series featuring my interview with Pat Thoen here.

Did you know that just over 11% of all Douglas Machine employees are female?

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 Becky Iverson

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

BECKY: I have worked at Douglas for 35 years. When I first started, there were less people in the Accounting department, so I had multiple duties including payroll, accounts payable, HR questions and insurance. My work now is focused more specifically on accounting.

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

BECKY: I liked my bookkeeping class in high school, so I chose to pursue Accounting in Technical College. I remained in the Accounting realm throughout the different jobs I had. What brought me to Douglas was that the company I previously worked for went out of business. I was registered with a temp agency and received work at Douglas through them.

3. In a nutshell, what do you do?

BECKY: I have a really nice variety of work including payroll, invoicing, collecting accounts, helping with administration of benefits, and working with customers.

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

BECKY: The answer is yes to both questions. I had one child at the time I started, probably a year old. Now I have three children and six grandchildren.

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

BECKY: Yes, most did. I think it was usual. I did receive a lot of help from my mother in providing day care for the kids while I was at work.

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

BECKY: We have ten people in our department. Seven are women and three are men. It’s a good mix. We seem to enjoy each other and do not have much turnover in our department.

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

BECKY: I think women have strived for more education throughout the years. It’s more competitive now with jobs that probably used to be deemed for males only. Now a woman can fill those positions too with the right education and training.

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

BECKY: My guess is 10%.

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

BECKY: Enjoy your job. If you don’t get satisfaction out of the work you’re doing, it feels like more of a job than anything else. At Douglas, I personally enjoy the diversity of duties and the people I work with. It’s very much like a family here.

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