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WomEng workshop shines spot light on leadership skills among female engineers

News   Chapter Banda   November 29, 2018
PIC: Female engineers with some of the engineering students after the workshop.
In a bid to create a conducive environment for female engineers, the Women in Engineering Malawi chapter organized a two-day leadership and development training workshop at the University of Malawi—The Polytechnic, in which they discussed issues that are affecting them in their day to day lives.

The workshop which was held in the institution’s Board Room on 22nd and 23rd November, 2018 respectively centred on three pillars. These include : leadership development and strengthening of the women in engineering chapter’s existing structure, training on how to conduct a Women in engineering outreach in high school and University level , and road mapping on outreach plan.

The event was facilitated by WomEng Programme Coordinator Aditi Lachman and Letitia Mbulu from South Africa.

The Facilitators tackled a lot of issues that are affecting female engineers in their work places. Among others, being an ideal of cultural set up in various countries across the world which underrates female engineers’ capabilities.

During the event, it was discovered that female engineers received lower salaries compared to their male counterparts. In addition, very few women in engineering field are being trained and motivated to register with the board of Engineers though they are having same qualifications

According to the Women in Engineering—Malawi Chapter Coordinator, Faith Mzandu, the workshop was part of the Africa Catalyst Grant which Women in Engineering Global received from the Royal Academy of Engineering of United Kingdom. This was meant to help in strengthening WomEng Organizations in Malawi, Tanzania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

“The aim of the workshop was to develop a team of leaders of female engineers from Malawi who will be able to conduct Women in engineering programs. These in turn will help them to run the projects in Women in Engineering Malawi on the behalf of the Global team,” Mzandu said. 

She further added that there are few female engineers in the world.

“For instance, female engineers make about 11% of the total engineers globally and only 5% in Malawi. This means that the engineering industry is largely dominated by males,” she said.

A lecturer from Malawi University of Science and Technology, Jennifer Chimwaza who also attended the workshop said she came there to gain leadership skills that would help her to understand how to help students whom she might inspire either at secondary school or university level. 

“The workshop has helped me to build some of the qualities that a good leader should have. Among others having a hardworking spirit, commitment and how a leader should portray in his or her everyday workings,” She said.

A second year student at the Polytechnic studying Biomedical Engineering, Daisy Manyenje said she has learned a lot from the workshop. 

“I learned so many things, but there are two things that stood out for me. These are; event planning and how we need to support each other as female engineers,” Manyenje said.

Manyenje further said the skills she has acquired will not help her only, but will also benefit other people as she will apply them in her everyday life.

The participants had an opportunity to learn various things such as how to look for partners to finance a project, manage time effectively, how to conduct a program and how to market their projects. 

The WomEng is associated with the pink hardhat as its signature trademark. This pink hardhat symbolize how female engineers in the world will break a stereotype by taking the engineering safety and acts as a conversation starter towards what WomEng Global does, and how many women and girls are being reached by it.

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