“It is increasingly obvious that there are certain challenges facing ladies in the engineering profession however these challenges are particularly unique. From a 3 point perspective, there will be challenges faced as a professional woman, challenges faced as an engineer and challenges faced due to our environment. Certain common sense principles can make you more effective in dealing with these challenges.”
A few months ago I had the pleasure and privilege of speaking to a group of female engineering students at the University of Lagos. The program was organized by the University of Lagos Engineering society (ULES) and I was invited as a member of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN).
The theme of the event was “The Lady Engineer and the 21st century’. I get really excited when I get invited to events like this a little too excited so I jumped to my computer and started typing away line after line and preparing myself for this my ‘amazing’ presentation about how awesome and amazing engineering is,how the future in engineering is so bright and all the magnificent things engineers are doing around the world. On my way to the event, I had a light bulb moment, while this ‘amazing’ presentation was amazing with pictures and videos and all I decided to speak from another angle.. 3 angles to be precise
1. The challenges facing the Engineering profession
2. The challenges facing Female engineers
3. The challenges faced due to this environment
So while I will not go into detail of everything I spoke about here are some extracts
Time: Time is finite. It ends so we need to plan our time better.
Capacity: Do you have what it takes? What are you bringing to the table? Investing in yourself, improving yourself is not being selfish. You are your greatest asset.
Hardwork and Character: The basics matter a lot. Respect, Attitude, Hygiene, Vision and so on
Environment: Chaos is a sign of a solution it all depends on the way you approach it
And above all decide your path; management, innovation, research, consulting and pursue it.
One of the most intriguing questions I got at the end was when a young lady asked how to deal with discriminations in the workplace especially as regards climbing the corporate ladder. This wasn’t my response but this is what I wish I said. I wish I told her to have the courage to search for a solution to climbing that ladder, to be creative about it and do what she could to get the power to change the situation. Simply take your ladder and lean it on another wall… it could take a year and it could take five years but at the end it’ll be worth it.
So in all I really want to congratulate the spirited engineers that put the event all together and all the other speakers at the event (I can’t remember all of them)
The representative of Engr Sandra Aguebor Ekperuoh; The Director Lady Mechanic Initiative.
Mrs Dolapo Aolabi; The Director of Afara Leadership Development Programme.
Engr Nimot. Muili is a Principal Engineer with Arup Nigeria and Chairman Apwen Lagos branch.
And a special shout out to Subomi and Fatima …you Rock! … Kisses mmmwah!!
If you will like to learn more about the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), their events and the work they are doing please visit their website by following the link.