International Women in Engineering Day originated in the United Kingdom in 2014 as a nationwide campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society.
The INWED became an international celebration in 2017 and has continued to celebrate the amazing work women in engineering do since.
In order to celebrate the amazing work women in engineering do, and the International Women in Engineering Day this week, we spoke to Joanna Ward a Transport Planner, and Taluana Patricio Highways Development Control Manager, both with 20+ years of experience within the industry!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Joanna Ward and I have been working in the Transport Planning field for almost 23 years. I went to the University of Derby and have a degree in Environmental Studies with Geography.
I’ve worked across many different parts of the sector in the 23 years – public, private, and charity for a number of different organisations such as Atkins, AECOM, and West Sussex County Council.
Since April 2021 I have been working as a Freelance Transport Planner.
My name is Taluana Patricio, I am a Highways Development Control Manager currently working for the London Borough of Croydon and I have 22 years of experience within the engineering sector.
I hold a BArch in Architecture and Town Planning and BTech in Civil Engineering.
What drew you to engineering?
I’m quite curious about the way people get around, how and why? I’ve also always been interested in how we can live in a more environmentally friendly way.
I like working in engineering because I enjoy working collaboratively to solve problems including the transport part of engineering. It is such a privilege to be able to influence where people live, work, play and how we can improve that. I think it’s the best job in the world!
I have always been fascinated by large constructions and the amount of team work and coordination involved. It is very rewarding to be involved in major schemes, build for legacy and get to work with amazing professionals to deliver the final product.
Why do you think there aren’t more women in engineering today?
I think this is historic as it wasn’t seen as a field for women to work in and unfortunately, there aren’t that many female role models at the Management end of engineering – it is up to all of us to advocate for our industry and the women in it or those looking to get into the sector.
Unfortunately engineering is still a field dominated by males. I don’t think there is an incentive for females to join engineering at a young age. Very often they doubt their capacity for problem solving and decision making, leading them to leave the career.
What challenges do you think women face in Engineering?
Often you’re the ‘first’ to do something and that’s not an easy place to be! It can be lonely and scary. But if we work harder to make the engineering sector a more inclusive workspace for women everyone will benefit – those working in the industry and those benefiting from our work.
Because engineering is still a field dominated by men, we are in the minority and sometimes it can be intimidating leading to lack of confidence for some.
What challenges have you faced while working in Engineering?
It has not always been easy! I’ve been bullied in the workplace and undermined by people because I’m a woman. However, a great network of other women I have surrounded myself with from within the industry have always been a great support and they have made sure that I know I have every right to have a voice in the industry.
I was undermined at work many times and unfortunately treated differently, especially at the beginning of my career.
What do you love the most about your job?
Working with others to improve lives – it really doesn’t get much more rewarding than that.
I love working under pressure and in a team. Every project is unique and therefore the work is never boring!
What advice would you give to women wanting to get into engineering?
Join a professional network so that you have ‘cheerleaders’ working with you and supporting you throughout your journey!
Be bold and brave when opportunities present themselves – you never know where those opportunities may lead!
Just do it! Don’t let yourself be intimidated by engineering being a male-dominant sector. If you persist and truly love the field, it is a great job and very fulfilling.