Women supporting women: Speaking up across borders
My biggest dream and vision for the future is to empower and encourage other young women to pursue their dreams and careers in fields that might be male-dominated.
As a woman in engineering, I understand what it feels like being one of the few girls in the room. I understand the feeling of intimidation when all your peers are men and I also understand the feeling of wanting to give in to their opinions. However, over time I have learnt how to make my own position known and have my voice heard. I have lost the feeling of intimidation and gained great friends and partners in these very same peers who now respect my views and decisions.
Vision for the future
My biggest dream and vision for the future is to empower and encourage other young women to pursue their dreams and careers in fields that might be male-dominated. I hope that one day I can help inspire young girls not to fear taking on a challenge just because their contemporaries look nothing like them; and instead take them head on and leave their mark wherever they go. I aspire to help young girls realise their inner strength and use it to propel them towards a successful future irrespective of the field they choose to work in.
Heriot-Watt University always encourages and pushes female representation in every field. The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences is and has always been a great support to the women in their school.
In 2020 I participated in two panels with women in engineering across all three campuses. In the first one I spoke alongside a couple of our female engineering professors and in the second one, I was joined by the Watt Women in STEM society based in Edinburgh, and a few senior female professionals in this field from Dubai, Malaysia, and Edinburgh. Both panels not only inspired the women watching but also helped broaden my own understanding.
Along with this, I have had the chance to speak with the STEM Sisters at GEMS Wellington International School and answer all their curious questions regarding engineering and being a woman in this field.
First among equals
In late 2020, my team of all girls and I were not only placed as winners in our category (Resource Efficiency and Climate Change) but were also named the overall winners at the Emirates Environmental Groups' Inter-College Environmental Public Speaking competition.
I have also had the honour of speaking for my university with multiple newspapers and online platforms. None of these achievements would have been possible without the continuous support and guidance I received from my university and my professors.
A simple exercise that young women can do every day is to speak their mind openly. No girl should feel inferior or like her opinion matters less than anybody else's. It is important to be mindful of what one says but women should be more outspoken about their thoughts and views. Women should talk about their stories and share how they tackled different situations and help uplift each other.
Young men can help by supporting these women by listening to what they have to say and work with each other as equals. Let us spread the message of girls supporting girls because only then will the rest of the world join in.