SES and its members understand the importance of Standards in addressing safety, interoperability, and societal challenges. However, standards may have historically been developed without considering women’s unique needs and priorities. Historical standards development has generally used gender neutral concepts. Possible explanations for this include the use of biased data and reference models in the standards-setting process.
ISO and IEC have identified that the main issue is that the lack of awareness of the importance of gender in the development and design of standards can lead to the publication of standards that are not responsive to all users. As a result, ISO and IEC formed a Joint Strategic Advisory Group (JSAG) to promote development of standards that consider needs of all users.
This webinar will address the need for gender responsive standards and will provide an overview of the JSAG activity.
Sonya Bird is the Director - International Standards in the Global Standards Department of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. In this role, she leads UL’s international standards outreach and international harmonization activities.
Sonya M. Bird
Sonya Bird is the Director - International Standards in the Global Standards Department of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). In this role, she leads UL’s international standards outreach and international harmonization activities.
Ms. Bird is active in regional and international standards activities. She is the USNC Vice-President Technical. In this position, she is the Chair of the USNC Technical Management Committee, and she is also the US representative to the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB). She co-convened IEC SMB ahG79 on Ethics for Artificial Intelligence. She is currently a representative to the IEC Council Board Task Force on Diversity, and is a member of the IEC/ISO Joint Strategic Advisory Group (JSAG) on gender responsive standards.
Sonya is active in ANSI, serving on the International Policy Advisory Group (IPAG), and the ANSI International Forum (AIF). Within the IPAG, she actively participates in the China Task Group as well as the task force responsible for working on the ANSI/ESO cooperation principles. Sonya previously served as the Secretary of IEC TC 61 (household appliances). Previously, she served as Secretary of USTAG for IEC TC 69 (electric vehicles), and Secretary of the US e-TAG for IEC SMB SG#6 (Electrotechnology for Mobility).
A member of SES – The Society for Standards Professionals, she has served on the SES Board of Directors as President, Vice-President, and Membership Director and has also served as SES Conference Committee Chair and SES Membership Committee chair. She was a long-time participant on the Executive Committee of CANENA (Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations of the Americas), where she previously served as Treasurer of the Council, and chair of the CANENA Audit Committee.
In 2018, Sonya was awarded the Elihu Thomson Electrotechnology Medal by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The Elihu Thomson Electrotechnology Medal honors an individual who has contributed in an exceptional, dedicated way to the field of electrotechnology standardization, conformity assessment and related activities both at the national and international levels.
In recognition of outstanding leadership of IEC TC 61, Sonya was awarded the IEC Thomas A. Edison award during the 2013 IEC General Meeting. She was also named a 2011 ANSI Meritorious Service Award recipient, and has been recognized by SES as an SES Fellow. Most recently she received the SES/CSA Lorne K. Wagner Memorial Award. Sonya was also named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Underwriters Laboratories in recognition of significant and sustained contributions to the fulfillment of UL’s public safety mission.