On International Women in Engineering Day 2021, we are joining organisations around the world in celebrating the amazing work and achievements of women engineers.

These women include our proposals engineer Mónica Rodrigues, who carries out vital work every day to create sustainable water recycling solutions, protect public health and enhance the environment. Here, Mónica tells us about her role and why engineering can be such a rewarding career for women.

Why did you become an engineer?

I’m a natural problem solver with a passion for the environment, water and wastewater treatment. Being an engineer enables me to create solutions that promote a continuous improvement in the relationship between the environment and society.  I love being part of returning clean wastewater to the natural water cycle.

What does your role entail?

I prepare quotations and proposals for sustainable water recycling solutions that provide site-specific environmental protection. This entails looking at process design and internal costs to obtain all information required for the tender process. It also includes liaison with potential customers and technical advisers.

What career path led you to the water sector and WPL?

My studies were based between Lisbon and the Netherlands, where I gained an environmental engineering degree, specialising in sanitary engineering. This track focussed on areas such as the management and treatment of water and wastewater, and water resources management, which is what led me to a joining the water sector and WPL.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Putting together our solutions for tenders, bespoke or standard, gives me the opportunity to be part of wastewater treatment process, which is a vital part of all of our lives. I find the context of my role in society – protecting public health and the environment – extremely satisfying.  Of course, there are pressures and risks that come with innovation and problem solving but challenges are exciting, in my perspective, and allow the development of perseverance and resilience.

How should the engineering sector support women in fulfilling their potential?  How would you like to see opportunities improve?

Diversity is fuel for innovation and extraordinary talent can be found in female engineers. I’d like to see engineering promoted to women from a young age, so they understand the potential impact they could have on society and feel inspired from the very beginning.

The educational system should teach and encourage these career choices and provide the opportunity to develop the relevant skills, particularly around creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving. Unfortunately, engineering can still be perceived as a ‘man’s profession’.

What advice would you offer to young women considering a career in engineering?

Any role has its challenges. If you find your passion in engineering, chasing it will be your biggest reward. With water and wastewater in particular, the sector is facing a skills shortage over the next decade. Water is essential to us all – as an engineer, you will have the opportunity to contribute to creating a sustainable and resilient future, which is so rewarding.

Tell us one thing about being an engineer that may surprise people?

Engineering is about problem-solving. People may see it as equations but it also relies on innovation and creativity.

For more information about International Women in Engineering Day – https://www.inwed.org.uk/

 For more about working at WPL – https://www.wplinternational.com/about-wpl/careers/