by Guiomar FERNANDEZ
Thursday, June 22, 2023

Testimonials to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day

June 23 is International Women in Engineering Day. This date focuses on raising awareness of women in the field of engineering around the world.

This year we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day by talking to a select group of women engineers from different regions working at companies within the Dover Imaging & Identification segment. This is a group of inspiring colleagues that shared their experiences as lead engineers:

  • Divya L Reddy, Scrum Master Engineering, Markem-Imaje India.
  • Jyoti Naik, Embedded Test Engineer, Markem-Imaje India.
  • Marcella Tabeling, IP Director for Dover Imaging & Identification Segment, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Michela Bianchi, Team Lead, Research & Development at JK Group, Italy.
  • Mickaelle Insulaire, Ink Development & Solutions Validation at Markem-Imaje, Bourg-lès-Valence, France.
  • Ortal Gefen, Director of Software Engineering at Blue Bite, New York, US.
  • Wanda Sealander, Chief Engineer – CTO at Markem-Imaje, Keene, US.

The reasons why they became engineers arose from very different motivations. In the case of Divya, her father influenced her as a role model. Jyoti by contrast, decided to pursue a career in engineering “as a challenge to prove that women can succeed in this type of study.” Others like Marcella and Michela developed an interest and curiosity in how machines work and in problem analysis. A study by Harvard Business Review, emphasizes that women, more often than men, want to become socially responsible engineers, working to solve major problems and making a difference in people’s lives. This was one of Mickaelle’s catalysts when she decided to study engineering. Finally, there are examples of career changes among our female engineers. Ortal evolved from the marketing field to software engineering, and Wanda, from biochemistry to computer science.

International Women in Engineering Day @ Markem-Imaje 

All of them lead projects and teams and their work has been recognized through their professional paths. When it comes to milestones in their careers, their encouraging outcomes are a result of devoted dedication. A great turning point came when they became managers. But there are other exceptional ones, like the European Patent Attorney title by Marcella, the participation in the New Inks development project by Mickaelle, or receiving a patent for some of the first wireless products on the market by Wanda.

Challenges for women engineers

Being a women engineer is certainly not without challenges.

Marcella points out that “working in a male-dominated environment requires a lot of resilience and coping mechanisms from women.” Wanda notes: “As women, we must be confident in our own abilities and not shy away when challenged but prove what we can do.”

Like in any other discipline, maternity is a challenge for women - especially if they have managerial roles. “I’m a mom of four, and I often find it’s hard to switch off my manager hat and put on my mom hat after a sometimes-challenging day at work, especially working from home without that commute to decompress,” says Ortal. Achieving a work-life balance is not easy.

When it comes to recruiting, for women managers, just as for their male counterparts, it’s critical to focus on a candidate’s competencies, skills and experiences, rather than their gender.  According to Ortal, “diversifying the team is not just ticking off a box to satisfy DE&I goals, it’s bringing different perspectives to the team that otherwise would be missed.” “I have noticed that I receive very few resumes from women to fill engineering roles. Over the past few years, I believe that I have personally only seen two applications from women for engineering roles. Both were extremely qualified for the positions and were hired,” concludes Wanda.

Advice for the future women engineers

To finish our interesting conversation with our women engineers in style, we asked them to give the rising generations fresh hope with some pieces of advice for girls that want to become engineers. This is what they said:

“Start making your own decisions and start solving difficult problems coming your way. Identify a mentor at a very early stage. Don’t stop unlearning and re-learning. “ – Divya L Reddy.

"Be fearless. Be comfortable being in any environment despite the gender ratio. Move with self-control, prior to everything else, it's critical to be crystal clear about your job goals." – Jyoti Naik.

“Don’t listen to the advice of others - especially not to those who will tell you that engineering will be too hard for you - but follow your heart. You can do it!” – Marcella Tabeling.

“You will be able to work in a job that allows you to compare yourself with other professionals, both from a theoretical and application point of view. It is a job that leaves room for inventiveness, and practical and mental organization of projects to be coordinated and carried out. It is a job where there is always something to discover and learn.” – Michela Bianchi.

“Believe in yourself everything is possible as long as it matters to you. Be ready to learn continuously and to share your experience and be open-minded.” – Mickaelle Insulaire.

“You’re going to hear a lot about women getting the short end of the stick, but there ARE good companies out there that will make you feel fulfilled, respected, and happy. Ask good questions, trust your gut, and find good senior folks to lift you up.” – Ortal Gefen.

“Be confident in yourself and your abilities and never allow anyone to tell you that you're not good enough or you don't belong. Just politely prove them wrong. Know your strengths and use them to compensate for your weaknesses. You can't be good at everything but don't allow this to hold you back. Failure is only a learning experience; use these lessons to become even more innovative. Finally, never be afraid to ask for help, it is not a sign of weakness but of someone willing to learn. Find someone within or outside of your group that you admire and ask them to be your mentor. In engineering, there are few women, so we are always willing to help. I have had great male and female mentors throughout my career.” – Wanda Sealander.

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