An Earned Title is Worthy of Acclaim and Yes, Inclusion in One’s Signature Line

22 December 2020

Statement by the Women in Standards Board of Directors

On 11 December 2020, a Wall Street Journal opinion[1] suggested that the earned degree of a high-profile figure was not sufficiently prestigious to deserve the esteemed title of doctor. The writer’s rationale? The owner of that degree could not claim “he has delivered a child.” Ignoring that the target of this writer’s vitriol was not a man – something readers were quick to note – the piece included micro-aggressions such as referring to the target of the opinion as ‘kiddo’ and suggestions that the individual’s dissertation was ‘unpromising.’

While sad to admit, such dog whistles[2] and micro-aggressions[3] have been a common occurrence for many in the standardization industry. In fact, it would be difficult to find one industry where such occurrences are rare. This must stop. Women in Standards calls on our industry partners, community, and governments from around the world to join us in condemning the acts of some to lessen the achievements of others.

  • Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation.[4]
  • A diverse workforce can enhance your organization’s flexibility and ability to pivot in a crisis.[5]
  • A group of people with diverse individual expertise are better at solving complex, nonroutine problems.[6]

In addition to the personal attack afflicted on an individual for the small infraction of enjoying the rewards of their perseverance, the opinion piece shook the very core of our educational system, suggesting that the earned achievements of some are somehow of more value and worthy of acclaim than another. Is one doctoral degree more prestigious than another? Is a certification earned through experience, education, and demonstrated skill of less value? The millions of certified individuals around the world would argue no.

As a professional organization dedicated to promoting the achievements of our members, to advocating for the inclusion of diverse viewpoints, we congratulate all individuals that have achieved the honor of receiving a doctorate degree or any degree or certification available to them in their chosen profession. Each is equally valuable and important as a reflection of that individual’s dedication and commitment to their chosen field of learning.

The Women in Standards looks forward to working with our partners to continue to advocate for inclusion and diversity to create a welcoming environment for all.



[2] The use of coded or suggestive language –

[3] Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities –,stigmatized%20or%20culturally%20marginalized%20groups.




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