Kathy Schulz is a bit of a trailblazer. At Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, she is the university's first-ever general counsel. But it started even before that: Kathy was one of the first women ever to wear pants in the Manhattan law office where she worked in the early 1990s.
Pants are such a staple of my wardrobe that it actually pains me to think about having to wear nothing but skirts and dresses. But for the first few years of Kathy's career in law, her work attire consisted almost exclusively of navy and charcoal gray suits, pumps, stockings and maybe a decorative scarf.
Then one day she went rogue and pulled on a pair of pants before heading into the office.
"I remember walking into the office of the partner who I worked the most with at the time, and I could tell, because I saw his face, that he noticed, and it registered," Kathy recalled.
"I'm big on comfort," she said. "And we were working hard. I was working anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day."
She may have been the first, but she wouldn't be the last. Kathy kicked off a pants-wearing trend among the younger women at her firm.
Contrast that with her work situation today, at Stevens. Like the law, the science, technology, engineering and math fields are traditionally male dominated. But the chair of the board of trustees at Stevens is a woman. And 30 percent of the student population is female — a percentage that is growing, she said.
"There's a lot of great stuff going on here, and there's a lot of great opportunities for women," Kathy said. "There are no obstacles or impediments that I feel here at all."
And I'm willing to bet she wears pants whenever she wants.