Women can get into engineering too

By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
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IT IS WIDELY acknowledged that the engineering profession is mostly dominated by men. Since the 90s, however, there have been an increasing number of women in Malaysia entering this field of expertise, showing that it is becoming a more accepted vocation.

During Engineering Week 2013 at Universiti Sarawak Malaysia, IEM-SAFE Unimas Student Section, a non-government organisation for engineering students at Unimas launched their first-ever Woman Engineering Session this year in the hopes of supporting women in the engineering community.

Dr Shafrida

Dr Shafrida Sahrani

Under the lead of Dr Shafrida Sahrani, an electronics engineer lecturer at Unimas, the students incorporated a two-day session especially focused on women in the engineering field in their main event.

Among some of the speakers during the session were Ir (Ingenieur- a title received by a person registered in the profession of engineering) Ting Sim Nee, a lecturer from Unimas and a representative from IEM (Institute of Engineering Malaysia) Women Engineering Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur. 

Being a woman in the field herself, Dr Shafrida expressed that there are constant challenges faced by female engineers especially married ones.

One of the challenges that will always be encountered is time management. Female engineers have to juggle their responsibilities between their professional and personal lives especially when one is not only a wife, but a mother. 

Another challenge faced by women is field work. While the common perception is that men are more physically capable when it comes to field work, Dr Shafrida says that the key for female engineers to survive during field work is confidence. During fieldwork, there will be no barriers between men and women as they have to be united as a team and work together in order to make sure a project is going well. 

“If men can do it, women can do it too,” said Dr Shafrida.

Dr. Shafrida also expressed her hopes that by getting the students involved in Engineering Week, it will help them learn how to manage their time between juggling various activities in their daily lives as the students were not allowed to skip classes whilst managing the event. Instead, the students took turns with each other running the event, enabling others to attend classes.

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