It's about talent, not gender
More and more young women see themselves as engineers in the future. They follow their passion and contribute their skills to find solutions for global problems. In the spirit of International Women's Day, we spoke with three female engineers who are facing some of these challenges. Together, they are working on finding solutions for urbanization problems. We talked about their passion for their profession, how they entered into former "male domains" and why diversity helps.
Three female engineers, three cultural backgrounds, but one shared passion. The three women could not be more different: Britta Mehring, 26, originally from the Ruhr area, Maria Uribe, 30, born in Colombia and Ana Erakovic, 50, from Serbia. Their shared passion brings them together in one of thyssenkrupp Elevator's lighthouse projects: the MULTI. The world's first ropeless elevator, which moves vertically and horizontally, is the product of a great deal of engineering skill, an innovative project on which the three engineers have a major influence.
Their passion started early
"I knew quite early on that I wanted to do something in engineering. I then decided to study industrial engineering. I like to see the big picture and then examine everything from the largest to the smallest detail. As an industrial engineer you have the opportunity to do this," explains Maria.
That the path is so clear is not always the case. Britta Mehring first had a teacher-training course in mind before she discovered her passion for construction. "The demand for a teaching internship was very high, so I looked for something else. I ended up in a company for large gears," states the 26-year-old. That sparked her passion for large machines. A 180-degree turnaround, which the young engineer does not regret. After her internship, it was clear to her that she wanted to study mechanical engineering.
This made her one of the roughly 23% of female students in engineering subjects. A minor success for industry, politics and educational institutions, which have been campaigning for more women in technical and scientific courses of study for years.
Diversity drives innovation
The number of young female graduates is still not at a good level compared to other courses of study. An observation that Maria also experienced while working in the aviation industry. "In many meetings, I was very often the only woman. This was, of course, a shock for me in the beginning. I wish it would be different. Personally, I think, that it is not a question of 30% of employees being female, I truly believe that diversity promotes ideas and that more women in the industry could make a big difference," explains the industrial engineer.
So why is it still difficult to get women interested in engineering? "I guess that many women still think that engineering is a typical male profession. However, many underestimate how much creative work is behind it. For me, gender has nothing to do with the profession, it's only about talent and personality that makes someone suitable for a profession or not," explains Ana.
Britta agrees with her previous speakers: "It doesn't matter whether you are a man or a woman, or what country you come from. I personally believe that mixed groups, not only in terms of gender but also in terms of different cultures, are generally much more efficient." Combining this diversity can lead to innovative ideas such as the MULTI, in which the three engineers are actively involved.
What makes their daily work special
One thing many people don't know about the engineering profession is how versatile and interactive it is. "I love my job because it is incredibly dynamic. I don't always know what the next day brings and that adds a lot of change and fun," admits Ana openly. Maria's work also doesn't always go as she thinks it will: "When you create new processes, it often involves a bit of trial and error. You have to be creative to create new processes, but it's unlikely to find the right solution right away. That's another thing you have to learn as an engineer - things can sometimes go wrong and that’s ok."
The three are certain that learning this has nothing to do with gender. For them, it is clear that anyone who enjoys challenges, is open-minded and has a bit of a pioneering spirit is ideally suited for the engineering