07/05/2013 05:05 EDT | Updated 09/04/2013 05:12 EDT

My Girlfriends Are Making A World of Difference

From a proud engineer who happens to be a women -- Stacey DelVecchio, Engineering Talent Pipeline Manager at Caterpillar Inc. and President-Elect of the Society of Women Engineers

My girlfriends are engineers -- compassionate, beautiful, well-educated and women who are out there making a difference. My friends are designing implants to deliver pain medicine for those with chronic pain. They are working to keep clean water flowing to those in need. They are out there collaborating with other engineers to ensure we make tractors in the safest and best way possible. They are building new airports and keeping our roads from crumbling. They are designing new engines with cleaner emissions. They are educating the next generation of engineers. They are starting their own businesses and using their imagination to create the next best app. Basically, my girlfriends are changing the world every day. They are dreaming up creative, practical solutions and working with other smart, inspiring people to invent, design, and make things that matter.


But what if my girlfriends never received an education? What if they never had those incredibly supportive parents like I had that told me I could do whatever I wanted? What if they never had that calculus teacher that got them all excited about math? Or what if they never had a teacher or never even had the chance to go to school? And the worst of all, what if they never had a girlfriend? I know my world would be different. A lot different.

Growing up in a family where I had everything going for me, it's difficult to imagine what it would have been like to grow up in an area where girls and women were not valued. When I look at all the things my girlfriends have done, and have yet to do, the world in general would be missing out on all the goodness they're bringing to it had they not been encouraged or supported. I'd like to carry this naïve message to the rest of the world to simply ask why one wouldn't include these compassionate, beautiful, smart women in their plans for the future?

Think of all the goodness they too could bring to the world. When I look specifically at the work of the G(irls) 20 Summit, I'm inspired by one of their key messages to make sure organizations and companies around the world see the valuable contribution of girls and women to our society and world economies. Yes...let's do this and the world will be a better place. And of course, I'd be proud to add all of these women to my ever expanding ranks of my girlfriends.