As International Women Day is always the occasion to talk about parity, that when it comes to gender ratio, robotics and aerospace are among the most highly imbalanced fields around.
Not only are few women engineers working today in these fields, but more generally far fewer female college students are entering science and technology-related fields compared to their male colleagues.
But to break down stereotypes today, discover a few portaits of ECA Group women.
I joined ECA Group in order to carry out a CIFRE* thesis co-financed by the company. The thesis was aiming at the digitization of an analog process of control for power converters, of which the company held the patent.
I continued then, during 6 years, as a development engineer in power electronics specialized in the control / command of power converters with strong constraints related to the military field of application. In this context, I was in charge of both the design, development, coding of control / command algorithms as well as prototype testing and initiation with the customer.
At the same time, I worked on submarine piloting regulations for a steering console made by ECA Group.
Finally, I shifted towards ship magnetism projects, firstly through power converters and the control / command present in the ship immunization systems, spread to all the systems of this domain (magnetic measurement, immunization magnetic and magnetic treatment).
As a Product Manager, I attended congresses and trade shows to present the ECA Group's solutions, including the patentedSTERNA process that allows the aerial measurement of a ship with the ECA Group IT180 UAV drone, to perform technical presentations and training for our customers and to intervene throughout the product cycle, from the quotation phase to the installation and test phase at the customer.
This culminated in my current position as a referent in this field for the group and to take charge of the R&D of this domain with, among other things, two CIFRE theses currently being supervised.
(*) CIFRE - Conventions Industrielles de Formation par la REcherche - is a mean to prepare one's thesis with funds coming from both the Association Nationale Recherche Technologie and the company integrated by the student during the duration time of the thesis.
Ship magnetism is an extremely specialized and confidential domain that brings together different exciting areas of competences such as magnetostatics, magnetic properties of materials, measuring devices, signal processing, electronics, power electronics and computing.
In addition, by intervening at all levels of the projects, it allows to have a variety of tasks which avoids any routine. Moreover, trips to meet customers makes you discover different cultures and places.
Expertise in a field is never achieved nor acquired and in view of the current technologies' speed of evolution, technical developments are numerous and open up great prospects.
On the other hand, I do not see any particularities in being a woman or not in this profession, nor for its evolution, according to my experience.
I joined ECA Group in 2009, as a Bid Response Engineer. This first position within the Sales department allowed me to understand the areas of expertise of ECA Group, to build a technical offer through the various business specialists and stand up for it with our customers.
Then, from 2013 to 2014, I held the position of Project Manager, in charge for the acceptance of the first six A9-M AUV delivered to the demining divers of the French Navy. This project was a real personal investment. The work of the entire team that made it possible to produce a high quality product, and within this framework, my job was to organize the phases of acceptance testing so that the six underwater vehicles could be put into service within the Navy in the shortest time possible.
This new tool disrupted traditional methods of underwater research. It has been designed to optimize these operations. And it is naturally, in my desire to promote the A9 AUV but also the other AUV products that I was entrusted with the position of product manager AUV within the sales department.
Human relations are at the heart of the engineeringprofession. I like sharing, trying to give sense to the work carried by the technical team, and the result is here. The investment of everybody allowed to present the AUV products and their interest in different types of application. The various demonstrations made so far have always rise the interest and even the admiration of potential customers.
What fascinates me in my current job is to match our products to user's need and to support customers in the management of operational changes. To do this, we must be attentive to what they want to set up to know the possible applications, the operational constraints and adapt our systems, without questioning their design, so that they can efficiently answer to needs of customers.
Even today, few women hold positions of technical responsibility in innovative companies. Companies are aware of the benefits of mixed teams, but women are still reluctant to hold this type of position for fear that their results will be more observed than those of men.
Personally, I do not believe we usually have different sensitivities and strengths at work. The method of obtaining results depends on each individual and in some cases, being a woman can make things easier, but not always as generally it is required more justification on technical subjects.
I think women have a role to play in Engineering, so they should not doubt what they can do it.