Today is International Women in Engineering Day 2020.
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is celebrated every year on 23 June and pays homage to the women in engineering and their amazing careers across industries.
We asked some of our female engineers to share some of their experiences of their work.
Associate Professor of Computer Engineering and Head of Students (UG Engineering)
Montse has inspired countless young women to consider a future career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Montse helped pioneer the first Women in Engineering Camps at UOW which later became our STEM Camp for Girls.
“I chose to study Engineering because I loved maths and physics at school, and I wanted to apply them to solve real-world problems. Once at uni, I realised the problems I enjoyed solving were software and electronic hardware problems, so I chose Computer Engineering. Engineering is about solving problems at scale. With great engineering, you can change people’s lives for the better.
My hope for the future is that young women in schools will see Engineering as an intellectual pursuit – achievable by anyone who dedicates themselves.”
Dr Emma Heffernan
Senior Lecturer Architectural Engineering
Dr Emma Heffernan is an Architect by background. After a number of years working in the construction industry, she chose to complete a PhD in the area of sustainable homes and communities. This research brought her to SBRC at UOW for her post-doc, during which time Emma helped to develop the new Bachelor of Engineering specialisation in Architectural Engineering, which she now leads.
“Engineering plays a big role within the construction industry, and my career working and researching within this sector has been immensely rewarding. Working in this sector I have had the opportunity to work with a range of other professionals to achieve common goals.
Engineering is about finding solutions to real-world problems – in my discipline of Architectural Engineering this relates to problems and solutions for the built environment, and I have chosen to focus on finding sustainable solutions.
Buildings have the potential to improve the health, wellbeing and happiness of communities, because the built environment impacts on both the everyday lives of people and the broader environment. As we move to a more sustainable built environment we face great challenges, but also great opportunities. And this is what excites me and brings meaning to the work that we do.
The construction industry is complex and often slow-moving, and the issue of gender inequality is one example of this. However, as we move to tackle the challenge of adapting our built environment to mitigate and accommodate climate change, women have a significant role to play in developing innovative solutions to improve the legacy of these buildings and their impact on the environment.
My hope is that through the knowledge that diversity in industry delivers benefits for everyone, a positive step change will occur.
Education and career pathways that appeal to women are an important part of this, and this was one of the key drivers behind the development of the new Architectural Engineering major at UOW.”