26th June 2024

#Enhancedbyengineers: “I wanted to combine numbers and people skills” 


On Sunday, the world marked International Women in Engineering Day, with this year’s theme recognising how people’s lives are ‘enhanced by engineers’ 

INWED is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the amazing work that our engineers, and engineers worldwide, are doing to make people’s lives happier and healthier, and to build a better and more sustainable future. 

But it’s also a vitally important waypoint to call attention to the barriers that still exist in the industry and discuss what more needs to be done to make our world and the built environment more equal, diverse and inclusive. 

This week we’re hearing perspectives across our team, with Liz Diaz, transport design engineer in our London studio, sharing her thoughts: 

Liz: “Back home in Paraguay, a career in civil engineering is very limited and highly male dominated. From my experience of working on site and in technical offices there, there wasn’t much opportunity to push forwards with your own ideas or creativity, you’d just be handed the plans and expected to deliver them.  

“It’s what drove me to pursue a Masters degree, grow my skills in urban infrastructure and ultimately join Civic Engineers. It’s been so rewarding ever since. From the outset on projects, you can make a positive difference, like including cycle parking or making footpaths wider to be more inclusive to wheelchair users or people pushing prams.  

“You can introduce raingardens and sustainable drainage systems to bring biodiversity and sustainability to places and spaces, just like we are doing through our work with Lambeth Council to make Lambeth greener and more resilient to climate change. Projects like these see us speaking to the community about how they would like their streets and neighbourhoods to look and work for them. It’s totally different from my experience overseas. 

“We’re really moving forwards in the UK, but there are still things we need to address. There’s still sometimes a lack of diversity in design team meetings, and not enough women around the table. As much as you’re a professional, it can be hard to be heard and I think it can foster imposter syndrome at all levels.  

“Having good role models and a supportive team around you is everything. I’m lucky to have worked with incredible colleagues such as Emily Ingham, Leah Stuart, Emilie Leclerc and Annabel Precious, who have shared their expertise and mentored me. I’ve really made my way here, with collaborators recognising my strengths and with so many opportunities for growth. 

“Being an engineer is fun and demanding, and I’d tell anyone to go for it. No one in my family is an engineer so it was a step into the unknown, but I knew all I wanted was to combine skills in numbers and people. That’s why raising the visibility of careers in engineering with younger generations is important. I’ve taken part in STEM talks at schools for girls here, and it was amazing to see how curious they were about the industry. It’s these sorts of encounters that make all the difference.”  

#Enhancedbyengineers: “I wanted to combine numbers and people skills”