Panelists for the Women in Aerospace roundtable at Meggitt Control Systems in Simi Valley were (left to right): Dolores Watai, vice president of finance; Karlyn Eoff, director of program management; U.S Congressman Steve Knight (CA-25); Greer Bosworth, assistant general counsel; Sarah Bergagnini, systems engineering manager.
Meggitt Control Systems, a division of the UK-based Meggitt group, recently hosted a Women in Aerospace roundtable moderated by U.S Congressman Steve Knight (CA-25) at its facilities in Simi Valley, California.
The goal of the session was to address the gender gap in the aerospace workforce and share the Congressman’s perspective on the issue. Women represent only about 25% of STEM workers, 15% of aerospace engineers and 14% of U.S. aerospace engineering graduates. Congress will be considering an appropriations mini-bus bill in the coming weeks that will contain spending authorization for federal labor, health, human services, education, and related agencies.
Topics addressed included:
• Opportunities for investing to bring more women into STEM education at all levels
• Equal compensation for women compared to male counterparts
• Mentoring opportunities to develop executive talent and grow junior executives
• Increasing the number of women in senior roles as well as advancement opportunities for women from junior ranks to C-level
• Work/life balance issues such as flexible work environments so employees can pursue opportunities outside of work
• Parental leave including more paid leave, more time off, less career impact for parents taking time away for birthdays, adoption of children, etc.
• Creating positive, healthy workspaces where intolerant, harassing behavior of others is not accepted
“As a nation, we’re facing a major threat to our national security preparedness and ability to evolve to meet future challenges. A talent shortfall in an industry that underpins national security must be addressed with the same urgency as any other challenge to avoid disruptions to production, innovation, and competitiveness,” Congressman Knight said. “We must bring all of our best and brightest into the talent pool. This means reforming our education and training systems to improve recruitment and engagement of women. Meggitt is one of the nation’s industry leaders in engaging communities and educators on issues around development of women in the workforce.”
Panelists on behalf of Meggitt Control Systems were:
• Sarah Bergagnini, systems engineering manager
• Greer Bosworth, assistant general counsel
• Karlyn Eoff, director of program management
• Dolores Watai, vice president of finance
Meggitt Control Systems supplies fire protection and control, pneumatic, fluid control, thermal management, and electro-mechanical equipment and sub-systems for the military and defense, aerospace, engine and turbine, and petrochemical markets. The Simi Valley facility is one of nine located in the United State and the United Kingdom, with repair stations in the UK, U.S. and Singapore.
Congressman Knight was born at Edwards Air Force Base and has called the Antelope Valley home for most of his life. He is a veteran of the United States Army and the Los Angeles Police Department, and previously served on the Palmdale City Council as well as in the California State Legislature. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, and the House Small Business Committee.