The 8th of March marked International Women’s Day, a day which brings attention to women’s economic, political, and social accomplishments. Originally conceived in European countries such as Denmark, Austria and Germany in 1911, International Women’s Day was a call for women to receive the right to vote and to hold public office.

Since then, huge portions of the world have adopted the event, with the UK’s first celebration held in 1914 in support of the suffragettes.

In this two-part blog, we speak to our female engineers here at Bowman Power Group, to explore their experiences and views on pursuing a career in a traditionally male dominated environment. Engineering worldwide remains majoritively male; in 2011, 85% of engineering and technology degrees were awarded to men, and only 6% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female.

Maria Llorens is our resident Principal Mechanical Engineer at Bowman Power Group. Having worked in engineering for 5 years, she brought her expertise to Bowman in 2014.

We asked Maria: ‘What inspired you to become an engineer?’

“I have always wanted to understand how things work. When I was younger, I was stripping down clocks from home and trying to build them back together again. However, this usually resulted in putting my mum in a bad mood as she had to keep buying new clocks so often…

I love maths and physics, so that is why I went to study as a mechanical engineer in Spain. It was quite broad and gave me an understanding of electronics, performance, materials, engines, water management, and renewable energies. There was a gap I didn’t cover in my degree related to aircrafts, planes and a deeper knowledge of power generation, so I went on to study an MSc at Cranfield University related to Thermal power.”

‘What is it about engineering which makes it a fulfilling career for you?’

“I love to understand how things work together (technical aspects and making technical decisions) as well as dealing with people (being a resource manager and being part of the strategy). It is the perfect combination for me.”

‘Do you have any advice for women considering an engineering career?’

“It is a wonderful profession. It allows you to have the right balance between life and work. I would encourage women curious about the profession and who love physics, maths, finding solutions to problems, learning every single day (my theory is ‘every day is a school day’) and understanding ‘how can we make it’ or ‘how this can work’, to undoubtedly join engineering! It’s definitely the right choice!

I would encourage women to not be scared about the engineering world. It is the most interesting, fulfilling and gratifying environment to work for. Don’t be scared and jump!”

This year’s International Women’s Day theme was ‘Make It Happen’, a call for general equality and a celebration of women’s achievements. Motivated women like Maria who ‘make it happen’ epitomise the purpose of International Women’s Day, demonstrating that more women can be encouraged to find a career in engineering.

With the number of female entrants in A Level Physics having risen by 13% between 2009 and 2012, and by 17% in A Level Mathematics, there are signs that a positive change is occurring in young people’s career decisions.

Next week we talk to Ines Adams, a young engineer who has recently joined us after finishing her education in engineering, and Lynne Coffin, our Lead Material Controller.