My mother, Gloria “Kay” Hughes, came to Baltimore in the early 70s to study opera and Music Education at Peabody. While studying the translations of the Italian operas, she was disgusted at how misogynistic many operas were and how women were portrayed as subservient, weak of spirit and physically fragile. Realizing she could never put her heart and soul into art that so demeaned her sex, she did what any young woman who enjoyed working with her hands would do. She became an electrical apprentice. After finishing apprentice training at the top of her class, she went to work with Benfield Electric as a commercial and residential electrical mechanic. In her job, she faced much sexism and doubts of her competency. This only drove her to work harder. Eventually, she became one of the first female master electricians in the State of Maryland. She is currently about to retire from Baltimore County Inspection and Permits as an inspector of 20 years.

Submitted by Jason Knauer