National Women in Engineering Day, now in its third year, shines a light on the women that have helped update the perception of what an engineer is. We spoke to five Shell engineers forging a career in a sector historically regarded as a male-governed profession to discover why they are determined to encourage more women to follow in their footsteps.
Shell celebrates National Women in Engineering Day
Five Shell employees demonstrate how women are making a major impact in a sector traditionally dominated by men.
Susannah Stott, Well Engineer
I think I wanted to be an engineer before I even really knew what an engineer was. When I was younger I was always taking things apart and putting them back together.
National Women in Engineering Day not only highlights the great work that women are doing, but shows that engineering is a role for anyone who is fascinated with finding out how things work.
When it comes to finding solutions and solving problems, diversity is key. If a team consists only of people with the same backgrounds then you’re never going to come up with novel answers. Workplace diversity is the catalyst for innovation, and that variety needs to embrace race, ethnic background and sexual orientation as well as gender.
Kim McCann, Operational Excellence Manager in Aviation
In a nutshell engineers make things work and then they try to make them work better.
The reason I work for Shell is because to me the energy transition to a sustainable energy future is the biggest problem facing mankind, and the only way to solve it is to get scientists, technologists and engineers working together to find solutions.
Engineering is not just hard hats and spanners; engineers are innovators and inventors, and that’s a message that still needs to filter down. National Women in Engineering Day is a great way of highlighting that engineering is an incredibly diverse vocation. It is also vital for inspiring the next generation of female problem solvers.
Samantha Harris, Venture Manager
I’ve never been held back because I’m female. I’m good at my job and that’s the primary thing that should be taken into account.
I’m ambitious, and I know Shell will support me in whatever I want to do. There may be fewer women involved in engineering, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. It’s not about gender; it’s about application and desire. Anything that encourages more women to strive to achieve their passion is something I fully support.
Heather May, Graduate Process Engineer
Engineering is perhaps the profession that can open the most doors. Once you have those foundations the world is your oyster; there’s really no limit to what you can achieve. There’s still a perception that to be an engineer you need to have muscles and work with your hands, but that’s just not the case. You can work in an office on a computer and still be an engineer. It’s a diverse and varied profession.
Anyone, be they male or female, should consider a career in engineering if they love solving problems. National Women in Engineering Day is a great way of showcasing that there is no need for women to limit themselves; everyone should be encouraged to discover what they love doing and pursue it.
Laure Mora, Well Engineer
If I could give just one piece of advice to women thinking about a career in engineering, it would be to just go for it. Why not? There’s nothing holding women back; Shell is a company that encourages and assists women so that they can get involved with professions like engineering, and that’s something that’s becoming more common in large organisations.
What I want more than anything is young girls and boys to be encouraged to follow their passion, whatever that may be. National Women in Engineering Day is another step towards workplace gender balance. That is something everyone, in whatever industry, should be targeting.