Why we need more women in engineering

23 June 2022

Today, 23 June is International Women in Engineering Day. Internationally, just 16.5 per cent of engineers are women, making them a largely untapped resource. We think this needs to change. 

VicTrack Chief Engineer, Ezio Lattanzio believes getting more women into the profession will benefit the entire engineering fraternity. 

“Engineering is essentially a problem-solving and solution-seeking profession. We provide innovative solutions to problems,” Ezio said. 

Women engineers bring a greater spectrum of diversity, specifically in ways of thinking, different ideas and ways to approach a problem. 

"I’ve benefited from working with great female colleagues over my career who have helped me to focus on getting all the facts about a situation, identify risks and mitigation strategies, and consider alternative solutions that I may not have thought of myself.” 

Ezio believes the current boom in infrastructure development makes this the perfect time to be encouraging more women to pursue careers in engineering. These female engineers will become role models to inspire other women to join the engineering profession. 

“In the coming years, there will be a mountain of work within engineering infrastructure environments, from transport, roads, rail, aviation, energy, water resources and ports and harbour developments. It is expected that the engineering profession will underpin all of these developing infrastructure environments for the benefit of our expanding population. 

“There are some really exciting times ahead and I would love to look back in future years and think that I helped plant the seeds for the next generation of engineers to come through and help shape Victoria.” 

 

Meet some of our women engineers

We have great women engineers at VicTrack, working across the business and bringing their skills to a huge range of projects.  We would love to see more women forging their career in engineering and other technical roles with us.

 

We asked some of our women engineers to tell us what they do and to share their thoughts on what inspired them to enter engineering or provide advice to others considering an engineering career. 

Jaclyn Tan

Senior Network Design Engineer

“I work with the design team to deliver radio designs for train communication services for Victoria’s major rail projects. We also provide consultation to ensure that projects adhere to VicTrack’s design standards and specifications."

Who or what inspired you to enter the engineering profession?

“My uncle was an electrical engineer, so at the age of 18 I thought it was cool to study engineering. My passion only came about when I started working in the field and found the satisfaction of problem solving and learning about new things every day. I realised that I have found my true calling.” 

Jessica Duchesne

Infrastructure Support Engineer

“I work on major transport projects and third-party developments across Victoria.  I provide consultation to ensure that projects adhere to VicTrack’s standards and guidelines in coordination with other rail authorities such as the Departments of Transport and the rail operators. We work together to ensure projects interface with the rail assets and operations has minimal impact to the greater rail network of Victoria.”

 

What advice do you have for up-and-coming engineers?

“My advice to up-and-coming engineers is to just ask questions. People love to talk about what they do. The more you ask, the more you realise people actually love to educate others on their projects, and there's nothing to be scared of in asking.” 

Saaranka Poonkundran 

Graduate Environmental Engineer, Environment Services Group

“I work within a team that is responsible for identifying and managing environmental risks across the organisation. This includes providing advice about contaminated land, asbestos, biodiversity and cultural heritage.”

 

What advice would you offer to a young woman embarking on an engineering career or thinking about studying engineering?

“For young women who desire to be creative and innovative, engineering has many specialisations that allow you to explore your ideas. My advice would be to really delve into the many pathways available at university that align with your interests, just like the opportunity I had to expand on my passions within an Environmental Engineering degree.”
 

Sladjana Gobeljic-Karapandzic

Network Design Engineer, Customer Service and Delivery Team

“I am a Team Leader of the Network Design Team, and our primary role is to design the solutions that match customer’s requirements, keeping in mind they need to be scalable, secure, reliable and cost-effective. We are ‘goal-driven’, and we love to see when our technical solutions get delivered and everything works ‘like a charm’.” 

 

Who or what inspired you to enter the engineering profession?

“Inspiration to become an engineer comes from two people; my mother who always supported and encouraged me in trying to engineer and ‘fix stuff’ (and would not complain if I make things impossible to repair), and Nikola Tesla, my countryman of whose inventions and achievements I learned from a very young age. These two people made me realised that everything is possible if you put your heart and soul into it.”

Kat Shoolman

Customer Relationship Manager, Infrastructure Design

"I lead a team of technical staff and engineers to develop the designs for VicTrack's physical telecommunications network and make sure they adhere to an Engineering Management Framework and best practice standards. We also have a big focus on the end customer, we know if we get the network fundamentals right,  things flow from there."

 

What inspired you to become an engineer?

"For me, becoming an engineer was about structure. Engineering is a discipline underpinned by process and procedure, allowing innovation to occur without forgetting the basics.” 

Sahar Badamchi 

Radio Engineer, Network Operations team

“I’m part of Network Operation engineering team that works mainly behind the scenes to keep Melbourne’s train passengers travelling safely. We identify and fix any incidents or faults that could interrupt train operations. We also work to optimise the systems, so they work at their best to prevent any problems.”

 

What surprises you about reactions to your role as an engineer? 

“People often think engineering is boring. It’s not at all, because there is much to learn. Engineers make things happen. With their logical minds they can bring ideas to life across many fields that betters people’s lives”