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International Women in Engineering Day 2021

I grew up around cars, my father is a mechanic, and my brother shares his passion, so there was always a chance to watch them work on different vehicles and learn more about cars and engines. I was always curious about engines and fascinated with how they worked and how they could make a car move.

At first, I decided that I want to do a professional course where I could learn the basics of mechanics, so I could work on cars with my brother and father. But my father said that in my country it is not easy to find work in this area being a woman. My mom added that I should use my curiosity and intelligence to do something bigger, and not to stay in my comfort zone. My mom was my inspiration, I was very worried because I did not know how to speak English, but she did not give up on me and with her help, I learned English by myself and passed on my English test to go to university where I am now studying Mechanical Engineering.

It is always difficult when I tell someone that I am studying Mechanical Engineering, they are often very surprised and assume that I will not succeed. I think some people have strong opinions about women in engineering in general because they see women as something fragile whereas an engineer is for someone “stronger” but in reality, women are something powerful. When someone doesn’t believe you can do something or tries to hold you back, they are only scared of what you can become.

My advice to other women who want to be an engineer is not to give up. It can be hard sometimes because some people will not believe in our capabilities but honestly, the only person that needs to believe in our power is ourselves. If we put it in our mind that we can, then we are capable of anything.

Jéssica Mendes
Portugal
BEng Mechanical Engineering (with Foundation year)

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