By Julie Dwyer | STC Senior Member and 65th Anniversary Task Force Member
STC is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Technical Communication Summit & Expo, 20-23 May in Orlando, FL. STC has grown significantly since its first annual conference in 1953, and women’s representation in the field has similarly increased over the decades. Over 60% of current STC members are women.
While presence in STEM jobs, professional growth, and salary parity with men are ongoing challenges for women, STC continues to lead the way in improvement and resources for all members.
For example, if you’re a member of STC, and negotiating your salary for a new job or promotion, you can access the Salary Database to support your case.
Working with a mentor is also an effective way to move your career to the next level. You can use the STC Mentor Board to set up a mentor or mentee account and get started.
I joined STC over a decade ago as part of my transition into technical communication. Like many of us, I started out as a lone technical writer. When I attended my first STC meeting, I knew I had found the right community. It was inspiring to hear the latest trends in tech writing, and it was validating to hear fellow members experiencing similar challenges. As my career progressed, I relied on STC webinars and the Summit to continue my education, research trends, and network.
STC has come a long way since our first Summit in 1953. If you’d like to review some interesting historical data, check out the research posted to TCBOK. There are many examples of how far we’ve progressed.
At the same time, many critical issues persist today. In all professions, women continue to experience gender bias, pay inequality, and harassment. On a personal level, women may also struggle with time management, family care, imposter syndrome, and perfectionism.
As we focus on the future, how can we, as women and STC members, tackle these continuing challenges?
STC’s Women in Tech Com SIG
Introduced in 2018, STC members can now join the STC Women in Tech Comm Special Interest Group. The vision of this SIG is to encourage mentoring, networking, advocacy, and volunteering in an open and diverse format.
I spoke with the STC Women in Tech Comm SIG Manager, Nicky Bleiel, Past President and Associate Fellow of STC.
“It is the newest and largest SIG in STC,” Nicky said, “Adobe generously sponsored the first 300 members.”
As Women in Tech Comm SIG numbers continue to increase, it is important to note that membership is not limited to women. This SIG is a combined effort of many STC members, including Nicky Bleiel, Pam Brewer, Paul Mueller, Allie Proff, Julie Waxgiser, Linda Oestreich, Alan Houser, and Matt Sullivan.
The SIG’s open format will allow members to share and connect through Google Groups. Members can post a wide range of topics to the email list, including articles of technical interest, women’s interest, questions, volunteer opportunities, job opportunities, and more.
If you’re discussing a topic with someone in the SIG, it may be good opportunity to ask advice, discuss common interests, or meet a potential mentor or mentee. You can also share a volunteer opportunity that isn’t connected with STC but might be of interest to the community.
“We want to make it easy for folks to participate but not get overwhelmed. They might be active for a short while and then come back. It is the nature of our online lives now,” Nicky added.
The Women in Tech Comm SIG has been busy preparing for the Summit. Have you registered yet?
They will present the Women in Technical Communication Panel. It is a chance to hear from professional women in the industry and find out more about the SIG.
They’ve already held some events this year, and the recordings are available on the website.
- Press Play! The Power of Personal Energy Management
- Prioritizing the Pressure through Better Time Management
For more information, visit the STC Women in Tech Comm website.
- Add the SIG to your STC membership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign up for Google Groups and review the guidelines for posting messages.
In addition to the Women in Technical Communication Panel, STC is offering several workshops related to leadership, management, and communication at the Technical Communication Summit & Expo. There is still time to sign up!