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  • Writer's pictureDonna Milgram

Urinal story: You won’t believe this could happen in 2024

Female and male STEM Students
Shop Environments Should Not Be a Surprise to Female Students

One of my colleagues who has both a Ph.D. and is a Master Automobile Technician told me a shocking story over lunch at last October’s National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education conference. 

I’m just going to say it. He worked in a shop in Pennsylvania two years ago … that had a urinal in the open shop

Yes you read that correctly. A urinal in the open shop.

It’s so unfair. Disgusting. Unheard of! (Except, sadly, we know it isn’t unheard of.)

He said the parts runner was a female. Can you imagine being her? Putting it mildly, she didn’t want to have anything to do with the shop.

I have worked with numerous schools that have told me that the shop environment in the automotive industry is still “bad”, “very bad” for women. 

That’s why, whenever I work with an Automotive program,  I customize the WomenTech Retention Plan to include a Strategy for Preparing Women for Shop Culture.

I also created training for Industry Advisory Council members and other Automotive employers about fair hiring practices, and fair workplaces. I ask them to take a fairness pledge.  

We can’t expect female students to have to navigate – and change –  toxic workplaces on their own, without support from the schools that educate them and their industry partners.

I can help you help support your female students in work-based learning activities and job placement in the automotive industry. Let's change this together. Let's get started during Women’s History Month.



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