International Women’s Day is a day to acknowledge and honor women around the world for the contributions we make each day to society. Watch our video featuring women in leadership at the Department of Energy (DOE) reflecting on what International Women’s Day means to them.
As Aleshia Duncan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation in the Office of Nuclear Energy, said, “this is a day to remind us that with all we have done together, there’s still more to do. We must continue to acknowledge and honor the importance of the contributions of women so that young girls around the world see examples of role models that look like them so that they know there is hope, a path forward, and a trail blazed for them to step into their greatness.”
“It’s just a great day,” said Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “Take a moment and celebrate the accomplishments of women, particularly women in the science and technology area.”
Dr. Tanya Das, Chief of Staff for the Office of Science, reflected on her personal background as a child of immigrants. Her parents are from India, and they “were people for whom education was not a guarantee,” said Das. Her dad faced barriers from being in a large, low-income family, and her mother faced barriers because of her gender. “I know that my life would look very, very different if they hadn’t made the decision to move to the U.S. when they did,” she said. “In some ways, our experiences as women vary greatly depending on where we were born. And in some ways we face universal struggles, regardless of where we are.”
As the first woman to serve as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy, Jennifer Wilcox hopes that International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on women in leadership and know that seeing women in different roles of leadership is important to changing the future for young girls.
“Just the other day I picked my daughter up from school, and...[s]he said, Mom, can I be president someday? And she asked that because we have the first female vice president,” said Wilcox.
Dr. Vanessa Chan, DOE’s Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, said International Women’s Day is a special time to her to remind us we are “only limited by our own dreams.” She noted we are “making strides starting here at home in the Department of Energy.” As a science-based agency we have 60 percent female political appointees. “I celebrate my fellow sisters who have smashed through their own glass ceilings to get here,” said Chan.
Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, shared that International Women’s Day gives her hope for her girls. “I have 16-yr-old twins who are looking to go into their own careers, and it’s not as if they feel the pressure to move into specific careers because they’re ‘made for women’ anymore,” she said.
Speakes-Backman added that she’s fortunate to work with incredible women in the National Laboratories and programs: “..all of these amazing women, from all walks of life, bringing their best game, to helping bring a clean energy economy to bear.”
Continue celebrating the contributions of women at DOE and working for equity all year. Learn what actions we’re taking through the National Laboratories, National Nuclear Security Administration, and program offices at www.energy.gov/women