Women in Construction
As women we are often put in positions in which we have to assert and prove ourselves to society, especially in the workplace. Similarly, the same is expected within the engineering industry that is stereotypically perceived as a male I dominated industry. Although it’s hard to argue that women have not been dramatically underrepresented in the industry, great efforts have been made to remedy inequality by supporting and empowering women within.
Despite the challenges faced by and the slow transformation of black African females in the industry, I still chose a career in civil engineering because I believe that I have the potency to contribute towards a changing industry and to improve where there is a desideratum.
In 2020, I joined the Naidu Consulting Academy of Excellence Programme to complete my in-service training. Usually, students are rotated among the various divisions, but due to COVID-19 I had the opportunity to remain and work in the Contract Development and Management Services Business Unit for the year. I became part of a dynamic, energetic and diverse team that is always striving for excellence and continuous growth. The team had so much confidence in me and I was exposed to real engineering problems. The mentorship and guidance received from the staff, despite their busy schedule, was appreciative and valuable to my development as a young engineer. I also acquired several skills through the academy and the project management learnership programme offered.
The experience and opportunities received through a structured programme like the Academy is a positive approach and contribution towards cultivating and supporting young women in preparation for them to conquer the engineering industry. I am inspired by the number of women who are already in top positions and are positively influencing the industry as leaders in their own right.
There is still a long way to go in terms of persuading more women to consider engineering as an attractive career, but the industry has made significant progress in recent years. The good news is that inequality is changing for the better. I believe there is no better time for a woman to pursue a career in engineering and construction. It is an exciting time to be part of history being made and to work with dynamic, ambitious, determined and inspiring women alike.
Let’s rise up and cease every opportunity.
By Thandeka Luwantshu