OBERLIN, OH-- On June 15, representatives from Women in Stone and Meisterfrauen met during Stone+tec 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany. With similar missions to empower women within the stone industry, the two groups met to learn more about each other’s history, organizational setup and goals for the future.

Representing Women in Stone during the meeting were Monica Gawet (Tennessee Marble Company) and Magdalena Schoenwetter (JMS Jura Marble Suppliers). Gawet commented: “It was an honor for me to represent Women in Stone and to meet these persevering women from Meisterfrauen, who—like our Women in Stone participants—are dedicated professionals working to support one another in their careers. I felt grateful that they took time to meet us and to share their challenges for promoting women in technical fields.” Sylke Lambert, leader of Meisterfrauen, agrees: “The meeting in Nuremberg was a great enrichment. Unfortunately, not many of our women are strong enough to stand up to the men in charge who put many stones in the way of our empowerment. Our meeting with Monica and Magdalena gave me courage not to give up, but to seek new ways and new strong and influential partners.”

Women in Stone was established in 2014 and is powered by the Natural Stone Institute. With a mission to recruit, retain and advance women in the natural stone industry, Women in Stone’s key programming includes an industry mentorship program, live education and networking events at trade shows, the Wine & Stone CEU program and two annual awards for women in the industry: the Women in Stone Pioneer Award and the Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship.

Meisterfrauen supports and empowers women within the stone handcraft industry in Germany. The Bundesverband Deutscher Steinmetze (National Association of German Stone Masons) currently organizes the annual Meisterfrauen seminar, which gives women in the stone mason industry the opportunity for exchange, networking and continuing education. They are currently discussing other options which may award better support. The members of Meisterfrauen are women who work in stone masonry companies, especially working wives and partners. Currently, a committee of the Meisterfrauen are working on a project to provide marketing material for stone masonry companies who would like to discuss within schools the chances of graveyards and monuments as helpful places to grieve. At the same time, the committee wants to give insight for students, parents and teachers into the stone masonry industry.

In addition to Meisterfrauen, Women in Stone has also collaborated in the past with Le Donna del Marmo, a group based in Italy. “We see that groups like Women in Stone are being created all over the world. There is apparently a global urge to encourage, empower and enable women in the stone industry. We will continue to stay connected and support each other with resources, ideas and our networks to help us grow,” says Schoenwetter.

To learn more, visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/womeninstone.