Have you wondered about the history and origins of the Women in Standards?

The Beginning

Women in Standards was first formed as an informal group of women professionals working in standardization. Women in Standards member Maryann Gorman, wrote in 2018 in an article for ASTM Standardization News, “In 2004, a group of 15 women gathered at the home of WiStandards member, Helen Davis Delaney in Maryland (USA.) At that point, Delaney had worked at ASTM International for over 20 years as an employee and a consultant and had developed a small network of women working in standards.” [1]

The first group came together mostly to network and have fun. At the time, there were very few women in standardization, and they bonded sharing stories, trading tips, and widening the network. Helen continued to be the convener of the group and usually single-handily organized annual dinners, traditionally in January in the Washington, D.C. area. The Annual Standards Babes Dinner, as it became known, was an event people looked forward to every year. You were encouraged to bring a friend or someone new to standards and to make sure you gave your contact information to Helen so she could add you to her mailing list. Here was a welcoming community of women, happy to connect and share.

Standards Babes became something you excitedly shared with someone new to the field. A blog post, author unknown [2], talks about her experience attending the 2010 annual dinner, “…whilst we dined and opined and generally had a grand time.” 2010 also marked the formation of the Standards Babes Linkedin Group.

In a 2013 article in Standards Engineering[3], WiStandards member Ellen Emard, at the time President of the Society for Standards Professionals (SES), noted that the 2013 Standards Babes dinner was attended by 50 women with another 85 unable to attend.

New Leadership

In 2015, Helen announced that she wanted to pass the mantle of managing the annual Standards Babes dinner. WiStandards member Kathy Morgan, President of ASTM International, offered to assist by providing a platform for the group to maintain its ever-growing mailing list and to handle the arrangements for the annual dinner.  With a new convener in place, it was also determined that a name change might be in order. One, let’s say, that was more politically correct.

Women in Standards was launched in 2016. ASTM International created the X06 “Technical Committee” where people could join Women in Standards at no cost. Maryann Gorman, Editor in Chief, ASTM Standardization News, took over management of the social media presences and created the Women in Standards Facebook group.

Creating a Nonprofit

In February 2019, Maryann announced her retirement and asked the Women in Standards group for volunteers to take over the social media management. Women in Standards members, Karin Athanas and Karen Reczek, stepped up to assist.  During 2019, Karin, with some support from Karen, developed a logo and mission statement for the organization. Next the two developed an e-newsletter and website, adding content and resources for members. In the fall of 2019, Women in Standards was incorporated in the state of Maryland!

As Maryann noted in her article, “Since that first weekend at Delaney’s house, the Women in Standards group has grown tenfold.” Women in Standards is the place to come to feel connected to others working in standards development and conformity assessment. Here you will find mentors, and new colleagues, and some will become life-long friends.

[1] “Women in Standards,” by Maryann Gorman, ASTM Standardization News, March/April 2018, page 60, http://www.standardizationnews.com/standardizationnews/march_april_2018/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=Cover#pg1

[2] “Standards Babes Party,” Author unknown, 2010, https://m.sciencenet.cn/blog-227950-292957.html?mobile=1

[3] “The President’s Page,” by Elen Emard, Standards Engineering, January/February 2013, page 19, https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.ses-standards.org/resource/resmgr/imported/SE%20-%202013%20-%201.pdf