About Us 

Women in Standards is an enthusiastic network of standards professionals who provide support, resources, and mentoring to promote business and personal growth.
Upcoming Events:
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May - Codes and Standards

May - Live in Your True Color

June - Innovations in Standards

July - WiS Connect

August - Conflict Resolution

September - Seeking Inclusion and Gender-Inclusive Language

October - WiS Connect

November - The Modern Appeals Process



Women in Standards members and friends,

Happy Building Safety Month! With so many things happening right now, both good and bad, I thought why not look to the future and the ways that innovation can help us address current challenges.

From climate change to IoT device integration and cybersecurity to microplastics, each industry has a role to play. 

Researchers are supporting innovation by testing and challenging current processes. Asking us all how we can do things faster, more efficiently, and through the use of technology.

So to, creatives are seeking out solutions for current challenges and asking us to look at things differently than we ever have before. 

For standards volunteers, we will be looking at standards not only for the technical qualities that we have become accustomed to, but moving to the future we will be challenged to consider the climate implications of our standards, whether they are sustainable or consider sustainable concepts, and whether the standards are gender-inclusive. 

Mary Theofanos and Justyna Zwolak, NIST, have kindly written an article for Women in Standards on their work looking into Diversity and Inclusivity at NIST and we start this month's newsletter with this piece because it is an important topic that begs our attention and open and honest discussion. 

Happy reading!

Karin Athanas
WiS President
Diversity and Inclusivity at NIST
By Mary Theofanos and Justyna Zwolak (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Who we are
The Articles of Confederation and President George Washington recognized that the “Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance” but it wasn’t until March 3, 1901 when the United States (US) Congress chartered the creation of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). At that time, the US had few, national standards. It was difficult for Americans to conduct fair transactions or get parts to fit together properly. Construction materials were of uneven quality, and household products were unreliable. The US was becoming a world power and other industrialized nations already had established standards laboratories. NBS was charged with the development and to be the custodian of national standards. In 1988, NBS became the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST.

Visit Women in Standards to continue reading
Building for the Future
How Standardization Leads to Innovation in Construction

For anyone raising young children, delivering your children to school can be a difficult, time consuming process. Access to the school may be hindered by a lack of a stop sign, traffic light, long delays as buses unload, and more. Airports and most hotels navigate such daily traffic with what appears to be ease, why not schools? The reality - many schools were not designed to be schools, were not designed for the number of students they are serving, and are not prepared for the number of buses, cars, and pedestrians needing to access the school at one time.
In the building industry, designers, architects, electricians, plumbers, and more, contribute to the development of an ecosystem which must run continuously and in harmony. However, it is not always easy or straight forward to consider the evolving needs of communities and how the buildings and surrounding landscapes will be used. Many schools used to be office buildings or other similar commercial space. [1] Where the given space is insufficient, schools must use trailers to accommodate the growing student population. Because these buildings were not designed to serve as a school, they may have only a single entrance and exit and a single parking lot which was previously sufficient, may need to be redesigned to accommodate busses and students walking to school.
An article in Architect Magazine from 2018 put it in perspective when it described the evolution of the classroom as “long benches of the […] schoolhouse become individual desks; desks become lightweight and movable; desks disappear in favor of seminar-style tables; and, in a recent twist, tables have become upholstered ottomans, beanbags, and booths.” [2] Where the standard schoolhouse was once a single room with long benches and tables, this standard has evolved to meet the demands of new approaches to teaching and the need for flexibility in the classroom.
Supporting the evolution of school design, standards establish the framework within which creativity and innovation can grow. Standards establish that the size of chairs must be of an appropriate size for a child; lockers, desks, and other furniture must be equally appropriately sized. Outdoor play equipment must meet safety requirements and be in a secure and safe space. Regulations and building codes also play a role, ensuring that regardless of design, the spaces provided for children’s learning continue to be safe for both the children and the adults providing education and administration.
Today, designers are learning from the past, evolving to design schools with transportation, population growth, unique learning needs, and more into their building designs. These new concepts are setting the standard for construction, creating a roadmap for schools to use to ensure that they are better prepared for the future.
[3] University of Oxford, “Designing better schools,” a talk about how the design of their new school building has affected learning,

Helpful Links on Celebrating Building Safety Month

U.S. White House - A Proclamation on National Building Safety Month, 2021

5 Ways to Celebrate National Building Safety Month in May 

What are building codes and permits

Codes and Standards - How Are They Different and How are Codes Developed?
Safe Building Practices
Approaches to Reducing Risks to Safety at Work
Around the world safety codes, regulations, and building policies are designed to keep those working and living in buildings safe, secure, and to ensure they have access to all needed necessities. Some buildings, such as laboratories, have additional requirements to address risks from chemicals and biological materials. Building sites have requirements to protect from falling objects and other hazards. As we transition from a fully remote, height of the pandemic mindset to a post-pandemic return to work, let us review some of the recommendations made to help keep you and other employees safe at the office.

Visit Women in Standards to continue reading
2021 Annual Challenge

The Challenge recognizes you for your engagement with others, your efforts to build and grow our community, and the support you’ve lent to our programs through volunteer service and contributions of your expertise to our learning series and other educational programs.

Sign Up Today
Committee Updates

Our Events Committee is hard at work planning our January 2022 Virtual International Event, but what should we call it? Let us know which is your favorite by emailing us at

➡️Celebrate Achievement
➡️We Are the Future of Standards - Celebration of Standards Volunteers
➡️Virtual Standards Symposium
➡️A Night for Standards
➡️WiS Presents
➡️Standards Collective - A Virtual Event

Want to help? The Events Committee could use additional support from members, Click here to visit the committees page and sign up for a committee.
Schedule Change

Seeking Inclusion and Gender-Inclusive language: A Year in Review

Our Women in Standards - SES Joint event has been rescheduled and will now take place on:

29 September 2021 at 10am EST

If you have not yet registered, registration is complimentary for all WiS and SES members.

Visit the event page today
Supporting Standards Research

Biljana Tosic is a Ph.D. student at the Quality Management and Standardization Department, at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade (Serbia).

She is conducting a survey related to the significance of the expertise in standardization for the internationalization of small and medium enterprises (that is also the title of her Ph.D. thesis - "The significance of the expertise in standardization for the internationalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)"). 

The survey is anonymous and aims at exploring opinions, attitudes, and perceptions of individuals (not organizations) – especially owners, managers, and employees responsible for quality management and standardization in their organizations.

The answers to the survey will be treated with the absolute confidentiality, and the obtained results will be used solely for research purposes.

The survey can be found at the following link –

The deadline for completing the survey is the 28th of May 2021.

Thank you for your collaboration and your significant contribution to the topic.


Support our Outreach, Education Programs, and Promotion of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.

Sponsor Today
Peek into the News
Want more news? Pro and SDO/Org individual members have access to the 'In the News' page. Updated weekly with standardization and standards development news.
Click here.
A Path Forward for Technology-Centered Standards Development – In the U.S., legislation introduced to create a task force to evaluate standards setting in the technology area & bolster participation. More here
Electric Vehicle Design – A new white paper from AGMA entitled “A Gearing-Centric Snapshot of the EV Space,” discusses drivetrain design including diversity, technology, and manufacturing processes. More here.

Participate in an educational presentation and voice your thoughts on standards development. 

Submit an article for publication in the WiS E-news.

Follow the Women in Standards on LinkedIn and Facebook and get up-to-date information on new standards activities - events, committees, and federal programs.

Participate in online chats on issues of standards and raising the voice and participation of women in standards. 
Technical Debt
What is it and How to Plan for it.

Technical debt is the cost that builds up from using old technologies and systems and the time and expense related to using and maintaining them. Technical debt is also used in software design to refer to using code that isn’t perfect – meaning is creates delays, isn’t clearly described, or otherwise affects the performance of the software – but is still used because the debt is not considered sufficient to demand a solution be developed. [1]
To put it in perspective, think of that old piece of software that you are using to manage your contacts, members, committees. You haven’t upgraded it because that kind of change would be expensive and time consuming, but the tool you are using is slow, complicated, and rife with potential errors. Add up each one of those pieces of equipment and software and you’ve created quite the mountain of technical debt.
Technology moves quickly. Today many people have a mobile phone with smart capabilities for everything. Modernizing your systems to keep up with the times is an upfront cost that pays dividends in long term savings. The trick for any individual or organization hoping to make the shift is timing. How long can you use old technology before the technical debt of continuing its use outweighs the cost to replace it. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating where you are and where you want to go.
Current Cost
In addition to rental fees and maintenance fees that you pay each year, consider the costs to your time and current work when evaluating the tool(s) you currently have. Does a piece of equipment break down and need repair often? If yes, how much time does that take away from the workday? Have you had to delay projects or pay for alternates while you wait for the equipment to be repaired?
In reviewing staff time, how many steps do staff have to complete to finish a task? And are any of those steps delayed waiting on the equipment? Are there additional steps that are unneeded, but the equipment requires?
As you evaluate your current technical debt, create columns for each of these areas and work through each to identify how much time, cost, and affect on your work each is having. This will give you a more accurate estimate of your technical debt.
Transition Cost
Next, evaluate what the current options are if you wanted to switch to something else. Evaluate what your current technology does that you need to continue being able to do, and what technology is currently available to perform those same functions and list them all out. Then evaluate available tools and technology and make a short list of what can offer you the same features. From those, what is the upfront cost to purchase them and incorporate them into your day-to-day activities. Consider things like software integration, training to understand how to use the technology, and how long it might take to transition information from the old technology to the new one.
Calculate the Delta
Finally, you’ll want to consider what benefits you are gaining from the new technology once it is in place and working. Will it save you time? About how much per day? Will is run more efficiently and need less maintenance? Calculate out the potential annual cost to maintain the system. And finally, consider whether the technology offers anything new that you didn’t have before. If you see it as a benefit, try to quantify the value to you of having that new benefit.
As a final step, take the current cost and compare it to both the transition cost and the Delta. Estimate over several years how the current cost might grow or change and what potential gains you would get if you transitioned now or in a year or two. By doing this, you can get a relatively good idea as to the best time to make the transition and begin planning both financially for the transition cost but mapping out the best strategy to ensure the least disruption to your day-to-day activities.
Have you made a technology transition? Share your story with Women in Standards, email us at
The Women in Standards supports the professional development of its members. Here are a few positions currently available at standards developing organizations: SDO/Org individual members can post job vacancies, calls for committee members, and manage all listings from their SDO/Org portal. Don't miss out, register today as an SDO member.

Visit the Women in Standards Participant and Employment Opportunities page today, click here.
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