By Mariana Trusson

To mark Women in Engineering Day, we asked a number of our female engineers to share their stories and experiences of being a woman in this previously male dominated industry. Click here to view answers from others.

What does women in engineering day mean for you?

I think Women in Engineering day is a good start.  Nothing is better to solve an issue than to make it public and bring it out in the open.

What is the most difficult gender related issue you have encountered in your working career?

Unconscious bias is the biggest problem, you often seem unprofessional going so far against the status quo by pointing out instances of bias that everyone thinks as normal.  It is difficult to do the right thing when your peers consider your actions an overreaction or unnecessary, yet I will always point out that female comes first in the alphabet and as such should be listed first on forms, and that it is wrong to assume that my male companions on site visits must be in charge as I am a woman.

What have you done to promote women in engineering?

Over the past three years I have met exceptional women who have inspired me to help others.  I am heavily involved in the Women in Building Services Engineering group within CIBSE and with Equate in Scotland.  To that effect I am talking on my experiences in Glasgow.

One piece of advice you would give to a young female starting out in a career in engineering?

Men are from Earth and Women are from Earth.  We are more alike than you can imagine and that goes for actions as well as abilities.  The idea that we need to work extra hard to get the same privileges is mostly in our heads, as such, put in the effort and ask for the rewards, just like anyone else.

What are the top 5 positive things about being a woman in engineering?

I don’t know about being a woman in engineering… but being in engineering is great, we are a very creative lot and many non-engineers do not realise just how much fun we have developing solutions unique to each project we undertake.

The banter in the office and on site is just hilarious, I had worked on my own for a period before joining Cundall, it was the main reason I even considered working in an office again, the collective humour of a bunch of engineers can make any day fantastic!

It is brilliant to see my work everywhere. I know that my daily actions make a real impact on this planet and evidence of this is all around me and I can actually see and touch it.

I meet so many different people in my profession and it always amazes me how much I have to learn about the world when discussing Clients problems as seen from their perspective, never a dull day!

What are the top 5 negative things about being a woman in engineering?

It annoys me very much when I mention I am an engineer and the response is usually the widening of eyes in surprise.  Having said that, I am part of the solution to this and hope anyone reading this will be too.

Click here to view answers from others.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. I thought your comments on unconscious bias were really interesting, and there has been a lot written about this, in relation to gender, as well as other characteristics such as ethnicity, age etc. It’s a topic we address as part of our recruitment interviewing training at Cundall, and it always generates some really lively debate!

    On a related note, I came across the attached article yesterday, which talks about women’s tendency to (unconsciously) undermine themselves in the workplace by stating their case with much less confidence than their male counterparts typically would. Our tendency to use the word “just” was the example used, and I found this really interesting!

    http://www.businessinsider.com/former-google-exec-says-this-word-can-damage-your-credibility-2015-6?utm_content=buffer94daf&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer&IR=T

    Like

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Mariana Trusson, Women in Engineering, Working at Cundall

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