Navigating the world as an engineer over the last 24 years has been an interesting journey for me. As a young professional, I spent time keeping quiet. I questioned the value of my input when surrounded by men. County staff recently discounted my "expert" opinion in the June 21 Planning Department staff report regarding our Sun Valley industrial grow appeal. As I have grown into my career, I have found my voice and understand the value I, as a woman and professional engineer, bring to every project.
During the Board of Supervisors meeting, I was very disappointed when I was berated by Rex Bohn's bullying words: "Rebecca, I really like the facial things and everything but this is my time. I listened to you scold me." This short but poignant statement reflects historic prejudice against women and how we communicate.
Women, far more than men, use paralanguage such as tone, pitch, and speaking speed to express meaning. Men use fewer of the thousands of available facial expressions than women do. After more than a year of living on Zoom, body language, including facial expressions, has become critical to how we communicate. Supervisor Bushnell interpreted my non-verbal cues accurately, when she stated, "Please, Rebecca, don't shake your head." In reference to Sun Valley's outreach to my community.
As we progress in society, let's look at our unconscious biases and respect that a strong, intelligent, and emotional woman's voice is as meaningful as one from the patriarchy.
Rebecca Crow, Arcata