Woman in Concrete – Spring 2011
Women Dominate Global Workforce
At the Women in Concrete Luncheon and Forum in January, Kari Yuers, President and CEO of Kryton International, Inc., addressed an attentive crowd while describing the opportunities available today for women. Yuers perception is that women are at an extraordinary moment in history provided by the population shifts, innovations in concrete technology, and the increasing role of women in the workforce.
She described how despite that concrete has been around thousands of years, the transformations and innovations happening now are likely to create the same type of incredible changes that were seen in the technology world. Some of those innovations include: photocatalytic cement, that when exposed to sunlight it resists pollutants that can dull or discolor concrete; greener cement, which is possible with the use of magnesium silicates to reduce carbon emissions in the production process and make concrete more sustainable; and transparent cement — solid, insulated, light-transmitting construction panels which could save electricity otherwise required for daytime lighting.
These are only the beginning of the innovations. The combination of new technology with an expanded outreach allows women an abundance of prospects and scenarios. “The opportunities for concrete and innovation expand beyond North America,” said Yuers. “In countries where women are treated differently, it can often seem a challenge to many of us. People ask me when I travel to Asia and the Middle East how I am taken. My experience is that I am first received as a business person, second as a woman.”
Women are Advancing
“Women are taking control of every aspect of business and power,” said Yuers. ”You can see the evidence everywhere – in job and industry statistics around the world. In the U.S., for every two men who get a college degree, three women get their degree.”
Yuers also commented on how for the first time in history, the majority of the work force is women. Plus, over 50 percent of managers are women. Young women today are earning more than young men, she explained. This is evidenced by the fact that young single women are the major purchasers of houses in 2000 communities across the U.S.
This trend is also seen oversees as in India more women are learning English than men, to staff the call centers. In China, it was found that women are opening more new businesses than men.
Yuers asked why we are seeing these trends. She found many reasons. One is that we used to have a manufacturing economy – where things were made and built. Now we have an economy that is both service and information based, while being rooted in technology. The two economies require very different skill sets than the former industrial economy.
“In addition to intelligence, the ability to sit still and focus, to communicate effectively, to listen to people and foster creativity are also required,” she said. “These are traits that women intrinsically possess.”
Yuers feels the combination of the changes in the population, innovations in concrete technology, and the widespread reach of our economy to all corners of the earth provide women with opportunities never seen before. She finds women have a leading role to play.
“We are at an amazing and unprecedented moment,” said Yuers. “I’d like to encourage you to open yourself to engage actively in these profound transformations. Embrace the changes happening around us both locally and abroad. Step out of your comfort zone. The more you see and experience, the more valuable you are to your clients. After all, loyalty only exists in the absence of a better value proposition. Customers want the best solutions.”