Hey guys, so being in a male-dominated course is not easy but it is possible to manoeuver. So today I will be sharing the challenges I have faced as a female in the engineering industry.
When people say you need manpower to do a certain task it’s true. A female can do the same task that a guy will be given but it will either take you a long time or you will need help. I accepted this one early, during lab work I would go collect material and load on the wheelbarrow. The guy will just pile up the heap and push it very easily but I can’t do the same thing so the option I have is to take small amounts that I can push or ask the guys for the help so part of the material they collect and share with me. I also had an experience where I worked for six hours and there was so much lifting involved when I went back to my place one side of my body was sore I could not turn. The thing is I don’t know what exactly I lifted that could have caused the injury but I opt to ask for help when the load is almost equal to my weight.
You know the way the mjengo guys heckle when girls pass the site and you ignore because sometimes they can end up insulting you. The mjengo guys are on one side and the girls on the other, I work with them so I am now on the same side as them but there is a certain form of respect I will be given on a professional basis. My problem is I am in a construction site work is going on and they start heckling at a lady who passes by, I get so upset and even start thinking should I tell them to stop but at the same time, it’s like that is none of your business. I get so conflicted because I have been on the receiving end of the heckling but now I spend five days with those people and you ask them Mbona huwa mnafanya hivyo? There was one time one of them told me it’s out of boredom but I was like can you find an activity to replace that because girls don’t like it.
I was given a lecture by a mjengo guy. ( imagine) I am working in the field, you report in the morning say hello to everyone and get to know the tasks for the day. You know how some people send you texts on social media like hey, I like you, you should be wife, can we meet( such kind of texts) and you ignore. So there was this guy who would do it but now it was verbal and I would ignore and continue working. One day as I was walking home he stopped me and was like “Me I like you but you’re ignoring. Why are you taking it so lightly? I had a good job don’t see me here and assume I don’t have money .” Much more was said but I was startled, I had no response and just went home. How was I going to help him?
When you work in the field just say when you are uncomfortable. You will already be a minority and sometimes the guys do not know how to treat you. Should I give her the hammer to hit a nail? If her ask her to do something is it offensive? If you are comfortable with the task of entering a ditch and taking levels to go ahead. If you want to go to the top of the building using the ladders fine but do not allow yourself to be uncomfortable. I climb those ladders to the top but coming down is always a challenge for me. I will take an eternity to get down. I noticed the engineers and supervisors would occasionally come round and ask if I am comfortable, so they try to look after you. Some workers also get defensive because he has a child that is the same age as you or same size so they tend to look out for you.
Those are a few of experiences that I have had, I have no idea the drama that awaits me. I have had fun working in the field. When it comes to the office I do not have that experience yet so I cannot tell you anything about it.
Have a lovely week ahead.
The girl in the red lipstick.