CHARLESTON, S.C. – Women’s Equality Day is observed on Aug. 26 and commemorates the 1920 passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. The Army celebrates the courage and tenacity of those who challenged the nation to live up to its founding principles and the women who continue to do so today.
According to the U.S. Army, 36% of the civilian workforce are women. For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, nearly 33% of supervisors in the district are women.
“The diversity we have among our leadership is great, “said Lisa Metheney, Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management. “It’s one of the things I’m most proud of about our district. As the senior civilian for the district, when I go out and do speaking engagements, that’s always a point of emphasis.”
Metheney assumed her current position in January 2014, having started with USACE in the early 90s. She is responsible for leading 250 employees across the state in developing and facilitating innovative and effective solutions that meet the engineering, environmental and emergency management needs of South Carolina and the nation.
“Most people don’t know exactly how robust our portfolio of programs and projects is,” said Metheney. “Most members of the public interact with us on one thing, whether it's getting a permit through regulatory, seeing the dredges in the harbor, or they have been at the beach when we're doing a renourishment. The fact is that we average $350 million per year across all of our programs, including our work at Joint Base Charleston and Fort Jackson.”
In celebrating Women's Equality Day, the Army recognizes not only the significance of women's contributions but also the value of diversity and inclusivity to its fighting force.
In May, the Honorable Christine Wormuth became the first female Secretary of the Army and Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson became the second woman in Army history to receive the rank of four-star general.
Additionally, during a webinar in June, Army leaders said investing in women to fill leadership roles in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, is critical to mission readiness.
“My big career advice for people in the STEM fields is to learn a bit about any of the disciplines that you’re going to have to interact with,” said Metheney. “Additionally, if you are a woman in STEM fields, make full use of all of your skills, including the ‘soft skills’ like facilitation and communication. And if you are ‘the only one’ or ‘one of only a few’ women in your field/office, own that. You are bringing diversity to the fight and it’s been proven diversity leads to better teams and better solutions.”
After seven years in her current role, Metheney’s vision for the future of the district is growth.
“I see our missions and programs being similar to the work we currently do but adding new people to the mix to make it even more of a world-class district,” she said. “I think we will see the district grow to 275 folks in the next few years because I think the support we’ll be called on to give to our state and nation will probably take a larger number of personnel in the future. We never know what mother nature has in store, but I think we will still be the people the public calls on not only to support them after a disaster but to help them plan and develop projects that will keep those impacts reduced into the future.”
To learn more about women in the U.S. Army, visit https://www.army.mil/women/.
The Charleston District is proud to be celebrating a 150 years of service to South Carolina and the nation this year. To learn more, visit https://www.sac.usace.army.mil/150thAnniversary/.