It's hard to believe it's been nearly a half-century since the iconic advertisements for Virginia Slims cigarettes, ironically, declared to women, "You've come a long way baby, to get where you've got to today."
But in some ways the sentiment of the ads still apply today, that despite all the gains females have made across all industries, there is still work that needs to be done. That's evident in many places in society today.
The most recent example was the controversy at Google where a male employee was fired after he wrote in a memo that females were biologically less suited for certain tech roles.
Other examples hit closer to home. Most rubber industries conferences and expos still have a vast majority of males in attendance. Males still are far more likely to hold the top executive positions, be company owners and even be asked to give talks at conferences.
Many women in the rubber and related sectors will talk of how they have faced discrimination throughout their careers, and still fight against it to some degree.
Judit Puskas, who this spring became the first female recipient of the ACS Rubber Division's coveted Charles Goodyear Medal, has never been afraid to defend herself throughout a long career that has spanned both industrial and academic positions.
For a good portion of her career, she worked alongside her husband. They worked well together, but she still saw him receive higher raises. There also was a boss who told him that one of the things they liked about him was he always spoke his mind. The same boss, though, when he was looking to have Puskas fired, told her husband, "You know your wife doesn't know when to shut up."
Puskas has a number of pieces of advice for females in industry on how to handle discrimination. The first comes from her husband, who insisted that when she was having problems in her career that she document everything. The next thing that is vital is to know the rules. Often there are rules in place that actually can help those being discriminated against, especially when the managers may not know the proper procedures.
The Charles Goodyear Medalist also says it's critical to find a mentor. She had a number during her career, both male and female, including her husband; Joesph Kennedy and Adel Halasa, both Charles Goodyear Medalists themselves; and many others, including Ed Miller, Rubber Division executive director.
Puskas also has this advice for men: You must actively help women. Many men, she said, assume these old problems of discrimination don't exist anymore. She knows that's far from the case, and she also knows that the best way to improve the situation is for both genders to work together.