When I was studying engineering in the ‘70s, there were some female students, but they were a rare breed.
So during one recent HDB site visit, I was pleasantly surprised to meet quite a number of female engineers. In fact, of the team of 10 engineers present that day, six were ladies.
HDB has done a great job in attracting lady engineers. What a wonderful change!
What made them join this field? Do they face any challenges?
They told me the main draw was the wide variety of opportunities. They saw how their skills could be applied to many different areas of our HDB towns. These ranged from developing and managing infrastructure and development projects, to studying traffic impact. They also have the chance to design amazing engineering solutions for challenging projects such as The Pinnacle@Duxton and Punggol Waterway.
Fulfilment was key. As HDB engineers, they get to oversee the development of a town from conception to completion. They derive a great sense of satisfaction when they saw residents enjoying the fruits of their labour, such as the Punggol Waterway.
HDB’s female engineers get equal opportunities as their male colleagues. Some of them told me that they have gone for training in the Netherlands. Over there, they learnt to model the hydrodynamic and water quality aspects of the waterway, and tapped on the Dutch expertise in dike development and water management.
Nonetheless, there were some initial adjustments, especially at the construction sites. One said “…it was initially awkward. At times, we had to make extra efforts to make our stand loud and clear through reasoning with the consultants and contractors. We had to show our ability to tackle difficult situations.”
I am proud of them for having earned the respect of the contractors. I hope their stories will inspire more ladies to join engineering.
Next week, HDB will be organising its inaugural Professional Engagement and Knowledge (PEAK) Forum. In addition to recognising the invaluable contributions of our building professionals – both men and women – the Forum is a good opportunity to learn from one another, to share ideas and experiences.
I wish all the PEAK participants a fruitful session, and I look forward to more innovative projects and solutions from our HDB engineers, that will benefit all Singaporeans.
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