In the society that we live in today most of the Professions (if not all) have been gender pre-defined. Oftenly this has resulted into increased bias especially to the young ones looking forward to find a specific career path to undertake. Incidentally, when a was a kid, due to the societal view just like I mentioned earlier, I used to have the same perspective on this especially to the medical profession. Just like any other kid I thought Doctors and Engineers were only designated to be males and the jobs like Hostesses for females.
I think its not by coincidence that if statistics are taken, most Engineering courses are dominated by males.
In today’s issue i will be featuring portion of a story which appeared in the Saturday Monitor of July, 4th 2015 as compiled by Gillian Nantume where we will look at one lady that defied the odds and is doing things that are so-thought can’t be done by females.
Perhaps this may change someone’s view about Engineering and give somewhat prominent lessons especially to all the female ‘Infield’ Engineers and Ones ‘In the making’ across all Institutions of learning. In fact I’ll be concentrating on the extracts that majored on questions of her Career versus her Gender.
Since am always not much into reading longer articles (actually bored by them If I try reading them), I intend to make this one as brief as possible but yet exhausting key points.
Gloria Mercy being a leader over a crew of 33 men some of whom are even older than her is said to have joined Hima Cement Limited on a Graduate Engineer Trainee Programme 2013. And since then she Joined the Cement Professional Develpoment Programme in July of the same year at Mombasa Training School where she would travel for lectures as she did some practical Assignments at Hima for a few months. As Gillain noted, In 2014, Mercy attended the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) training at Siemens in South Africa
Now lets briefly look at what she had to say to the Interviewer in their Question(Q) and Answer(A) conversation they had,
Q: Why are there a few Women in this field?
A: Its about Attitude. From a younger age, girls take the attitude that mathematics and science are for boys; they are too stressing. Also, there are a few role models to inspire young girls. There are many female lawyers and doctors but there area few female Electrical Engineers.
Q: How many women were in your class?
A: At the university, my year had 76 students and only 9 were female. They all graduated and are working, although some switched to the laboratory side of the profession.
Q: Do you feel at a disadvantage because of your gender?
A: To the contrary, everyone wants to help me . My colleagues believe they are superior , so they are always offering to teach me new things. When I was still a trainee, whenever a foreman would go on leave, we were left in charge, This helped me build my confidence.
Q: Is it different in the other countries?
A: No, I was at a plant in Poland for two weeks and I was the only woman there. All the men were excited to see me and I was wondering about how even in Europe, women are not so enthusiastic about Electrical Engineering. There were many women but they were in the laboratory doing the chemical part of the job.
Q: Has Hima ever had any other women engineers?
A: Ten years ago, there were two Engineers, one mechanical and the other electrical, but they all switched to the commercial department. Then, fours years ago there was one mechanical engineer, who came in for a short time and then left, Most of the women work in the laboratory, production and administration department.
When she was asked what made her stand out she said “I am an Engineer first then a Woman” a statement which has made our Article title today!
One among the many points I just noted from her conversation just like you may have is ‘The lack of Female Mentors to motivate female Engineers in the making and be looked upon as role models’ actually according to the few I asked say they only do the courses of Engineering they do simply because they were admitted on those implying that if it were upto them they would opt for other choices.
Hopefully with the right motivation, all female engineers in the making will be able to be motivated and inspired to purse their dream engineering carriers with increased enthusiasm by the ones yet to bask into the field.
The key point here is “Having the Interest, right motivation and propelling enthusiasm”
As noted the Career Development Manager- Hima Cement Topher Atuhurira about Gloria
“I first interviewed her during the recruitment drive for Graduate Trainee Engineers towards the end of 2012. As Human Resourse Manager then, I was responsible for Identifying, hiring and developing our talent.” He added that “What really stuck me about Mercy was her Interest in heavy electrical engineering. Most of her peers had had Internships with telecom companies but were seeking to cross over to heavy Industrial operations. As a recruiter, I was not only interested in candidates that fitted our selection criteria but additionally had an attitude and passion.”