May 23, 2022
CalAPA Establishes California Branch of Women of Asphalt
On Mother’s Day, CalAPA announced it has formalized its longtime advocacy for women in the asphalt pavement industry by establishing a California branch of the national “Women of Asphalt” organization.
The group seeks to highlight the contributions of women to the success of the industry, encourage more women to consider careers in asphalt, and elevate those working in the industry.
CalAPA’s former technical director, Rita Leahy, Ph.D., P.E., was previously recognized by the national organization as the “original woman of asphalt” in its Top 100 list of prominent women in the industry. Leahy recently shared her thoughts with Asphalt Insider on the difficulties women continue to face in entering and succeeding in the asphalt industry.
“A woman cannot be average in the asphalt industry,” Leahy said last week. “She has to be above average, the equivalent of a No. 1 draft choice.” Leahy also offered the following advice: “Do not confuse your life with your career. Your career is what you do. Your life is who you are.”
CalAPA has organized numerous events over the years to highlight and elevate women in the industry, including fun and educational events. The events have ranged from a panel discussion of prominent women leaders in the industry at a Fall Asphalt Pavement Conference in Sacramento in 2018, moderated by Leahy, to whimsical hat contests at CalAPA’s annual “Day at the Races” event at Del Mar.
The formal connection with the national Women of Asphalt group will facilitate coordination and amplification of activities. The mission statement of the national Women of Asphalt group is “empowering women in asphalt industry careers.” The goals of the group are to increase awareness of opportunities in the industry, elevate knowledge through education and resources, and provide platforms to create supportive relationships and growth.