It is National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) today. Our Partner, Marian Hamilton, gives a candid view on this:
At the age of 15 I decided to become an engineer. This came about for two reasons: 1. I wanted to make a difference and 2. It was 1979, I lived in East Glasgow where unemployment and poverty was the norm and I wanted to get out and get a career. I will be honest – I am no philanthropist, so the second reason took priority.
An inspired careers teacher (I attended an all-girls school), suggested engineering and I took it from there. I won a place on a course where I spent 1 week at Heriot Watt University and was introduced to the vast sector of engineering. I returned enthusiastically and applied to every engineering course I could and received several acceptances. It changed my life.
Now, over 30 years on, I am still in engineering – I followed a career in building services and now run my own design consultancy practice in London. It has been no bed of roses – engineering, particularly in the construction industry, is not for the faint hearted. You have got to want to do it. That’s where point 1. of my reasoning comes into play. Do it and make a difference.
To me a career in engineering is both challenging and inspiring, no matter what industry you are in. Anyone can do it, but you have to really want to do it. This applies whether you are male, female non-gender/trans-gender. Gender just should not be an issue, but sadly it is.
Engineering is a fantastic career. I have met some fantastic women engineers, but I have also met some fantastic male engineers too. I hope one day that all good engineers will be recognized for what they are and not singled out for gender, race, orientation or whatever. Here’s hoping we do not need a NWED in the future. Now that would be worth celebrating.