Accelerating Gender Equality in the Engineering Sector

Empowering Young Women in STEM: Insights from 'Accelerating Gender Equality in the Engineering Sector' Discussion

On 20th February 2024, Women in Rail Malaysia collaborated with YTL Construction to host a special discussion entitled ‘Accelerating Gender Equality in the Engineering Sector ‘ at Kolej Yayasan UEM (KYUEM) in Lembah Beringin, Selangor. This event aligned with the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated annually on 11th February, aiming to celebrate women’s achievements in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) and inspire young women to pursue careers in these related fields.

30 A-Level female students attended the talk, eager to gain insights into the field. Natasha Zulkifli, the Founder Director of Women in Rail Malaysia welcomed participants, sharing the difficulties she had faced in getting her own children to study STEM subjects. Natasha also emphasised the importance of having a good support network, ie: spouse and friends, particularly required for the students to ensure a future successful career in fields typically dominated by men.

The session was moderated by Ms. Sara Surayan from KYUEM, who asked thought-provoking questions related to engineering, engaging the young audience. The highlight of the event was the insightful discussion led by two distinguished guests: Ms. Mutiara Zainal Farid from YTL Construction and Ms. Zunurhidayah Osman from Arup. Both speakers shared their personal journeys and addressed the challenges faced by women in the engineering field.

Throughout the discussion, both speakers emphasised the importance of diversity and inclusion in the engineering profession. They highlighted the need for continued efforts to break down barriers and create more opportunities for women in STEM fields.

The event spanned one and a half hours, concluding with a Q&A session. Many of these inquiries were authentic, real and very perceptive, addressing various aspects of engineering, both personal and professional. This underscored the sincere interest and concern of these young individuals regarding their future in STEM fields.

The discussion raised a critical question for us at Women in Rail Malaysia: Are we providing enough support for young women to explore STEM careers? As we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science for the fourth year in a row, Women in Rail Malaysia remains committed and focused on empowering the next generation because when we do that, it will create a strong and confident generation, worthy of leading Malaysia in the decades to come.