International Women in Engineering Day, this year on the 23rd June 2017, is an annual celebration of the fantastic impact that women make to engineering internationally. It aims to recognise the women already working in the industry, and showcase the opportunities to future generations.
In support of this important day, Marine People and the IMarEST will be showcasing amazing international female engineers in our weekly blog. We want to demonstrate the diverse roles available within engineering, the career development opportunities, and provide some insight in to what it is like to be a female engineer in various parts of the world. We are passionate about showcasing the fabulous opportunities to women in maritime engineering, because we believe it is an exciting, varied and progressive career.
So, let us introduce this weeks featured engineer:
Laura Macias Garcia, an ILS Engineer working for Navantia in Spain.
- How long have you been in engineering and what is your role?
I started my first job after an internship in a shipyard in 2009. Since that my professional career has taken me to many places and different roles, taking a lot of good experiences as Structural Engineer, Quality Surveyor and Purchasing. My current role is ILS Engineer working on Naval Projects.
- Why did you become an engineer?
Thanks to my father, I developed a high curiosity and interest about how things were made, and how they work. He always supported me, and taught me all that he knew about how to fix things at home. I focused this curiosity on to my studies, and I decided to focus on an engineering career. I was fascinated and amazed by how things were built from scratch.
- What are the best parts of your role?
I love the challenges, and my work is full of them! Our goal is to support the life cycle of a ship that lasts longer, and requires less support, thereby reducing costs and increasing return on investment. This is not only through the ship design or shipbuilding, but also through the operational life cycle of the ship. To work in a good team, sharing knowledge and ideas to get our goal achieved, is what I like the most about my role.
- What challenges have you encountered?
As a female engineer, I have sometimes faced difficult situations. In the past, people from my own company and customers wouldn’t take me seriously, but would instead ask their questions to my male colleagues, even when it was entirely obvious that the one with the relevant expertise was me. When these things occurred, I tried to respond assertively. Fortunately, the engineering world is changing and women are starting to be seen as equal to men in engineering.
- Why is it important to get more women in to engineering?
The world is changing. In the past, women had to fight to be viewed equally. Although there is still bias in the industry, it is in a much better place. Today engineering is getting value from having ideas and solutions from both male and female engineers. I do not think that women or men make better engineers, we are simply the same. We also have ideas, knowledge and passion for what we love, engineering. Women do great things in engineering.
- What would you say to girls still in school who are thinking about engineering? How would you encourage them?
I would tell them that they need to be honest with themselves and follow their hearts. Do not be put off by engineering being male dominated. As a female, it could feel unusual to study engineering, but you need to think about what you enjoy, what you want and what you desire. Sometimes you could feel alone, and that you do not fit in to the engineering world, but do not give up. Women have the skills to achieve our goals, both in our professional and personal life.
- What advice do you have for students just starting out?
I personally think that commitment, personal initiative, eagerness of knowledge and constant efforts to improve, are the key strengths to achieve any goals in life, including the professional one. Never give up.
For more information on International Women in Engineering Day please visit http://www.inwed.org.uk/