Working Women: Emma Cardini and Katie Francis

(Colin Winterbottom Photography for WJE)

High atop the Washington Monument, climbers inspected the tower at more than 500 feet up. It’s enough to make anyone feel a bit woozy.

And it gave tourists something exciting to witness.

Then, the same engineers moved to the National Cathedral and, with painstaking precision, they examined the iconic structure.

Many think this is man's work. Just don't tell that to Emma Cardini.

“I think it goes without saying in engineering or any technical field we've worked just as hard as the men, why wouldn't we be able to do the same thing?” Cardini said.

Cardini, who studied civil and structural engineering at Tufts, works alongside Katie Francis, who studied civil engineering at Johns Hopkins and got into climbing at the same time. Little did she know she'd bring those two passions together.

“They asked me if I would like to rappel down buildings and I was like really? You'll pay me to do that?” laughs Francis. “That's great!”

Francis says it’s been an awe inspiring experience to see the District from this once in a life time perspective.

“We feel really privileged to be able to work on these structures,” Francis said. “Such a history behind them.”

Their gear includes an iPad, camera, tape measure and water bottle.

“I feel with the ropes you're already tied in and your tight and you feel comfortable,” Cardini said. “So you're already comfortable even before you get over the wall.”

Though these women have obvious physical and mental strength, they are moved by a new appreciation for the craftsmen and for the District.

“It's fascinating while you're up there just see how much work people have put into the work and the love and care just put into this Cathedral,” Francis said. “It's amazing.”

View photos of Cardini and Francis scaling the monuments