International Women in Engineering Day

At Oakland, we’re proud to celebrate our female colleagues working in engineering and especially on International Women in Engineering Day. Oakland’s, Chai Ling, Consultant explains how she got into a career in engineering.


Why did you go into engineering?

I enjoyed maths and physics and hence thought mechanical engineering is probably the path for me.

What challenges have you had to overcome?

The lack of women in engineering, especially in mechanical engineering. When I was pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, there were only two females in a class of sixty students. This was the same when I did my industrial training in a local engineering firm that manufactures engineering parts such as gears, valves, etc.; I was the only female there.


What women have inspired you?

To be honest, I can’t think of many but Indra Nooyi (ex-CEO of PepsiCo) would be one. She was inspiring not only because she was one of the few women who made it to the top executives level but also because during her time in PepsiCo, there were many campaigns and work that have been put in place to encourage women into engineering, resulting in PepsiCo being recognised as one of the top employer for women for years.


Do you have any advice for girls considering a career in engineering?

If you enjoy engineering, do not be afraid to pursue it, do not be intimidated just because the industry is dominated mainly by males. Most people assume that maths and physics are difficult, so engineering is difficult. This is certainly not true. If you enjoy the subjects, you will do well. And do not be afraid to ask questions – keep learning and do not be afraid to participate in discussions and voice your opinion, but there is no need to behave differently, just be yourself.

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