Read this female engineer’s experience of a decreasingly macho industry

Read this top female engineer's account of her 25 years of working in a male dominated industry. Although the girly calendars and tokenism have diminished, Jo Da Silva still believes that much needs to be done to create a level playing field that will encourage more girls and women to seriously consider a career in engineering.

 Jo Da Silva_Female Engineering

“When I was younger, I used to get invited to speak to schools about being a woman engineer,” Jo Da Silva writes for Management Today. “ It always seemed odd. No-one talks about a man engineer.

Interviewers would want to take a photograph of me wearing a hard-hat on a building site. It perpetuates the stereotype of engineering being a macho, construction-worker career, whereas I actually sat in an office behind a computer,” she added.

Of course, not a whole lot has changed. Female role models are still a rarity. The media still perpetuate those self-same stereotypes. But the way the industry is responding has fundamentally changed for the better.

“Times have changed,” admits Da Silva. I did a shoot for Vogue the other day. The Royal Academy of Engineering asked me to, because apparently it's women my age with children selecting their GCSE subjects who discourage their daughters from doing triple science.

My step-daughter is that age, so I said yes. Several friends of mine have seen the article because their teenage daughters have shown it to them, so whoever did the research at the Royal Academy got it right

This is exactly the kind of progressive thinking that we need to attract more females to the industry. Hard hats off to the Royal Academy, and engineers like Da Silva, for changing perceptions and going the extra mile to inspire young women to make the leap into industry.

Read Jo Da Silva's full article for Management Today here.

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