Elena Rodriguez-Falcon – President and Chief Executive of NMITE

Website: https://nmite.ac.uk

“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made in terms of equality and inclusion regarding gender. As far as I can remember, gender equality has always been part of the narrative.”

“Back in Mexico where I grew up, there were newspaper ads looking for ‘only’ male engineers, however, when I go back to Mexico now and look through the newspaper ads, I can see that things have changed. We’ve come a long way since before women had the right to vote, and there are laws that are still being challenged across the world.”

“On the 15th February we celebrated International Mexican Woman’s Day, yet it was only in the 1960s that Mexican women could vote. So, things are changing, but it’s not fast enough. We still need to make progress and we all have a responsibility to do this.”

“I think we all have, in one way or the other, experienced the challenges of being in male-dominated industries, in my case, it’s engineering.”

“In my first job, and I had to supervise 200 male workers in a manufacturing company where I was the only woman. Not just the only woman, but I was also the only engineer, the only graduate engineer, and the youngest member of the team. Of course, situations like that are not only potentially intimidating, but also challenging because you must overcome the perceptions and the preconceived ideas that a male-dominated industry might still have.”

 

NMITE

 

“It’s important that we mentor young women to dream big. They need role models like those who have been lucky enough to move forward who need to make themselves visible and share their stories. If there is visibility, those who follow will feel that they can achieve.”

“We need to be able to actively remove barriers to entry into different professions, and we need to celebrate achievement. We need to be loud and clear if a person deserves recognition, particularly if they are women and there is under-representation in your sector, celebrate it.”

“For me, there has always been a clear message since I was young, that dreams are worth dreaming. One can achieve them if you work hard, if you put your mind to it, if you treat people kindly and if you do the right thing. All of those messages were incredibly powerful because it removes the idea that if you are not a man, or if you are not in a certain position, you cannot achieve.”

“Seeing a risk or an obstacle as an opportunity, and knowing that if I make a mistake, I can learn from it, then I have a better chance of moving forward.”