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“I want to pursue engineering!”: From girlhood conviction to now!

 

«Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn is the author of one of the quotes that sums up my childhood: ‘I didn't want to just know the names of things. I remember really wanting to know how it all worked.' 

I remember Christmas evenings when, after opening all the presents, my favourite moment was helping my brother assemble the toys he had just received. I would then pick up the instruction manuals, Lego bricks and puzzles, and got myself entertained for hours. Was I alone? 

Differences in behavioural and social adaptation patterns between boys and girls can be observed from an early age. Consciously or unconsciously, society instils in different stereotypes for certain types of play. Are we so different? As for me, I was always curious to understand how things worked. In hindsight, I think I was destined to pursue a more technical field. The truth is that when asked which path I wanted to take, my answer was always the same: ‘I want to pursue engineering!' And, true to my beliefs, I am now a chemical engineer! 

Throughout my journey, I have found out that we are, looking at the numbers, tacitly led to believe that engineering is a predominantly male area. However, I believe that in a near future this belief will eventually disappear. Today is when we start building that future! 

I now know that the role played by parents and educators, supported by a more inclusive social conscience, is the necessary starting point for breaking down prejudices and demystifying these gender issues. We are moving fast towards a future where we will certainly benefit from diversity and plurality to broaden horizons, and where we will be able to explore different perspectives that will lead us, inexorably, to better decisions.» | Patrícia Cotrim

(image caption: REN's Genderless professions. First Hand Testimony by Rita Dias. Equality, Diversity, Inclusion)