Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Engineer Jill Tietjen on recording women's history
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Sarah Toce
2015-06-16

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


National Women's Hall of Fame CEO Jill Tietjen co-authored the enduring register Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America ( HarperCollins ) with Charlotte Waisman in January 2013. Since then, the two-pound tome has systematically altered the course of feminism through the sheer force of its existence.

"I was introduced to my co-author Charlotte Waisman in 2003, and she had this idea already of women along the timeline," said Tietjen, an electrical engineer by trade. "In fact, she had a paper timeline that consisted of 100 sheets Scotch-taped together that she used when she went out and spoke. And then she decided, really, that it was time to have a book, and she went out to find the book to give to her classes and her students, and the book didn't exist."

Waisman had her goal set: She would create a book for women by women—and she would do it with Tietjen.

"We went out to lunch—a lot of my life happens through lunch—and she, at the end of lunch, said 'We're going to write a book together, and this is what it's going to be,'" Tietjen recalled.

Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America would eventually profile and feature more than 850 women "that most of us have never heard of, that we never learned about in school, because we don't learn anything about the women in history through school … because the textbooks are 95-99-percent male," Tietjen explained.

The first woman elected to Congress from Colorado, Pat Schroeder, issued a coveted endorsement for Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America that still rings exuberantly in Tietjen's ear.

"Too many Americans think men fought their way to this country on dangerous sailing ships while women arrived on cruise ships. Her Story sets the record straight, men and women came on the same ships and shoulder-to-shoulder built this great country together. Her Story is a must read. We have had 400 years of sex-gregated history; it's time for the holistic view," Schroeder praised.

"That's the whole purpose," Tietjen said. "We haven't told the story of women and women's contributions are important. Nobody actually would be here without women. And we can't continue to populate our country without women. And there are a lot of roles that women have that are very important, and we haven't told their story and we needed to."

Tietjen's life assignment is translucent: "My objective is to tell women's stories, that's what I now have as my whole mission, is telling women's stories," she said.

As an active member of The Society of Women Engineers in 1987, Tietjen became involved in an essay contest highlighting accomplished women in the fields of engineering and science. The essay contest led way to Tietjen's next move: nominating colleagues to the Women's Hall of Fame.

"My first successful nomination in '94 was Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. Admiral Hopper developed the computer compiler, and that is the software that allows us to talk to our laptops or our smartphones in English, French, German, Spanish, Swahili, or whatever, and then the computer compiler translates our language into the 0's and 1's that the computer understands," Tietjen said. "She was my first successful nominee for what's called the National Medal of Technology, although it's actually now called the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. And I was at the White House to receive it from the first President Bush in '91 and then she was my first successful nominee to the Hall in '94. And there's actually a destroyer—a ship—named for her. And her name was grace, so one of its nicknames is Amazing Grace."

To date, Ttietjen has nominated successfully 21 women to the Hall.

"I'll tell you one interesting one—Dorothy Eustis. She was the one who came up with the concept of the Seeing Eye dog. Everybody knows what the Seeing Eye dog is, and it's expanded now to other kinds of companions and other kinds of programs, but the model, the first, was the Seeing Eye dog, and [the creator] was a woman."

NASA Astronaut Sally Ride was the first woman in space. She spent her life with her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy—a fact that came to light posthumously.

"Her impact was incredibly significant. She really dedicated herself to getting more women in science, technology, engineering, and math ( STEM ) careers. Sally had to prove the acceptance of women in space," Tietjen said. "There were women that did test to be in the original astronaut program and that were effectively denied after they passed all the tests. I don't remember exactly all the reasons why—I mean what sticks in my head is probably not necessarily the reason, but I think they couldn't figure out how women astronauts were going to use the bathroom in space. But anyway…"

Another groundbreaking individual, in Tietjen's opinion, is teacher/adventurer Ann Bancroft, who has journeyed to the Arctic and Anarctic regions. She asked, "If women can have babies and put up with all of the hardships that come with their lives, why couldn't they be polar explorers? You know, carrying a baby for nine months actually requires a fair amount of endurance."

Speaking of maternal connectivity, Tietjen participated in a Google Connected Classroom in May wherein she taught a class dubbed "Amazing Moms Through History."

"At the end of the program I said to the students—one was a fifth-grade class in Florida and one was an eighth-grade class in North Carolina—I said, 'What did you learn?,' Tietjen said. "And the boys said, 'I learned that women's contributions are equal to men's. I learned that women deserve our respect.'

"It's so important to have this experience for fifth-grade and eighth-grade boys to say that women's contributions are important and women make equal contributions to men and women deserve our respect. Oh, yeah!"

What did Tietjen envision for the future of women in science?

"I think the trajectory is upward. I tell people I've been working to get more women specifically into engineering now for 35 years. And the needle hasn't moved very much. I worked on a project in 1997 through '99, and our objective was 50/50 by 2020. The odds are negligible—we're not going to get close to 50/50 by 2020. It would be nice to get to 20, even 25 percent by 2020," Tietjen said.

Tietjen's advice for women passing the torch to the youngsters in the STEM conglomerate is, in part, to remember their history.

"You know, if the suffragettes could stick to it for 72 years, and only one of the people that was at the 1848 Women's Rights Conventions was alive when women got the right to vote, then it's really not asking too much of us to stick to it and get through it and do it for the ones who are going to follow us," she said. "But that's a little bit of hollow advice for people who are struggling—to say, well others have struggled before you and you have to do it for the ones that follow. Part of that actually is true and is what I believe. Scientists, science and engineering really have advanced the quality of our life."

Learn more about Jill Tiejen's work and Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America by visiting www.herstoryatimeline.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Legacy Walk to unveil Tchaikovsky exhibit Oct. 13 2018-07-11 - CHICAGO—One of the immortal composers of classical music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, will join the ranks of such LGBQ icons as Alan Turing and ...


Gay News

WCT looking for stories from 1968 2018-07-11 - Windy City Tines plans to examine what happened precisely 50 years ago—in 1968—and is looking for stories from LGBT individuals who were in ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame restructuring, no event 2018 2018-07-11 - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame has issued a statement on a restructuring happening at the 27-year-old organization. The Hall of Fame will ...


Gay News

Legacy Project head talks LGBT history 2018-07-03 - Legacy Project Executive Director Victor Salvo spoke about his organization's work at a Pride month gathering for LGBT professionals held June 28 at ...


Gay News

BOOKS Thomas Garguilo talks 'Stonewall Revival,' partner 2018-07-03 - When Thomas Garguilo retired from a 30-year marketing career at Philip Morris, husband Ron Leone encouraged him to try new things. "He knew ...


Gay News

TELEVISION Former 'Drag Race' contestant makes 'Dance' history 2018-07-03 - Miss Estranja ( AKA Jay Jackson, and sometimes known as Miss Laganja Estranja ) made her television debut on season 6 of RuPaul's ...


Gay News

Trans candidate Sharon Brackett makes history in Maryland 2018-06-27 - Baltimore, MD - Tonight, Sharon Brackett has become the first trans woman to be elected to a public office in the State of ...


Gay News

Out at CHM discusses history of Queer Expression In Public Spaces 2018-06-27 - Inside the Center on Halsted's auditorium, while queer community vendors tabled their wares over a DJ, an open bar, and plates of hors ...


Gay News

City to pursue landmark status for Legacy Walk 2018-06-27 - On June 22, as Chicago's Pride weekend kicked off, city officials announced that they'd be pursuing landmark states for the Legacy Walk in ...


Gay News

BOOKS Jim Elledge spills 'Fairy Town' secrets at Unabridged 2018-06-27 - Gay history descended upon Lake View's Unabridged Bookstore June 20, when Unabridged employee and local historian Owen Keehnen interviewed Jim Elledge, the author ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.