In May 2017, UCCD welcomed an exceptional group of women to Salt Lake City with the program Women Leaders: Drivers of Social Change. This project explored the role that women leaders in politics, business, public service and civil society play as agents of change and advancement in their communities. They met with women’s organizations and influential women in public service, politics, NGOs, businesses, foundations, schools, and community organizations to discuss their contributions to issues affecting women, families, children, and society at large. They also explored a variety of programs designed to encourage and prepare women to take on leadership roles. Idalia Mendez of El Salvador was among these contributing leaders in social and economic advancement.
Ms. Idalia Mendez currently works as part of the operations management team at LaGeo’s geothermal power plant in Ahuachapán. She oversees all electrical operations and work performed by contractors at the plant. Ms. Mendez is passionate about women’s issues and has taken part in her company’s activities to promote female leadership.
Idalia shared with UCCD how impressed she was by the volunteer community and the ties made between women within different sectors to integrate and achieve common goals. “In this experience, I must admit that the visits we had with the different organizations and personalities left me strongly rooted in the need to establish networks that allow for the support of counseling or support to women who need help.”
Ms. Mendez also shared insight into the professional struggles she faces and how she is working to overcome those obstacles. “In my case I am an electrical engineer, therefore since I began my studies it has been hard to work not only with men but also to have the same opportunities as them, that is to say both in academics and in work. In the workplace it is difficult for the credibility of women's work to be accepted.”
“I am the first female electrical engineer working in the electrical department of the geothermal plant in my country… I am proud of the professional woman that I am, I know that there is still much more to do and I am sure that I will be able to activate more women that will ensure that technical areas are not dominated by men and that men can accept the roles of women in all aspects."
UCCD applauds Ms. Mendez on the progress she is making in her country to aid social change. We wish her the best and look forward to her bright future.