Last year, Engineers Ireland reported that female engineers represented only 12% of the profession in Ireland. Research from the Higher Education Authority also indicated that just 23% of engineering graduates were female.
Every year, International Women in Engineering Day is held on 23 June, to provide a platform for women working in the engineering field. The day aims to educate, promote, and encourage females on having a career in this sector, highlighting the opportunities there are in choosing this as a career path.
SIRO promotes women in leadership, with 35% of leadership roles in our company being fulfilled by women. To mark International Women in Engineering Day this year, we asked some of the women in SIRO in engineering roles, what being a woman in engineering means to them.
Read below to find out their thoughts and insights.
What does it mean to be a woman in engineering in Ireland?
SIRO Chief Technology Officer, Suzanne Tracy, says:
“Over the years I have realised that engineers are dealers in problems, working through a collection of challenges and finding solutions. Essentially, we are professional problem solvers! Day to day this can mean you are handed all the difficult issues to resolve. Problem-solvers have great scope to take ownership and make a difference.
Throughout my career in telecoms, I have always been in the minority gender, in that there have always been more males on my team and within my peer group. This has never held me back. I often say, ‘don’t be afraid of hard work’, giving that bit extra at work is something you will benefit from.
For me, being an engineer has given me a varied and fulfilling career. I have worked for one of SIRO’s parent companies for 24 years, and during that time, I managed large IT operations teams, consolidated infrastructure into centralised data centres, and insourced and offshored technical teams, on a global scale.
Today I am responsible for the design, rollout, and customer connections on SIRO’s full fibre network, including all our IT Infrastructure that supports our business. I truly enjoy the tangible nature of the role. We grow our network daily and we connect customers to our reliable, quality fibre network daily.”
SIRO Senior Commercial Engineer, Stella Walsh, says:
“Qualifying as an engineer has provided me with many job opportunities from various companies. I became an engineer primarily to make a difference. Throughout my career I have been a part of various projects which helped create a sense of teamwork, and that also been rewarding on a personal level.
My current role within SIRO, allows me to collaborate on a life changing project (for many homes and businesses nationwide) with my colleagues. Our work enables them to access high-speed, reliable fibre broadband, to help with their day-to-day activities and makes their lives that bit easier.
My work as an engineer has allowed me to be part of important projects which implement innovation and creativity to develop and design sustainable solutions. I am proud to challenge traditional views on sustainable construction. I do this every day, through the planning, design and build stages of SIRO’s fibre network.”
SIRO FMR (Fibre Make Ready) Program Manager, Ailin Suarez, says:
“In my eyes, it does not matter if you are a man or a woman. It is a privilege to be part of the engineering industry, an industry that is forever changing, always challenging and one that never stops looking at ways to innovate and make the world a better place.
Our society has evolved, and the landscape of engineering is ever changing. Not only are we seeing an increase in the use of technology, innovation, and sustainability in the industry, but we are also seeing more women entering the field.
Despite the progress that’s been made towards gender equality, this field remains heavily male-dominated. As a woman in engineering, I feel I have a responsibility to promote women in the industry, to achieve gender-balanced teams, creating a diversity of thought, which in turn leads to greater innovation. I always try to lead by example by being the best leader that I can be.
Through my role in SIRO, I get to do what I love and what makes me feel empowered. I think it’s important that females working in a similar position to me mentor other women. We have to recognise the importance of our role in our companies and society, and not shy away from stepping up and leading.”
SIRO Junior Engineer, Emily O’ Reilly, says:
“Being a woman in engineering means having the opportunity to design and reshape the world we live in for the better. It allows us to take on problems and find creative ways to solve them. It means being part of a bigger team to work together on projects that impact the future.
I believe it empowers you to constantly develop and improve your work, and to adopt a curious mindset. In my role, every day is different, and each day involves me trying to figure different things out, so I’m constantly learning new ways of doing things.”
To find out more about International Women in Engineering Day visit here
Read more about SIRO’s sustainability strategy, and our focus on gender equality here