Women in Civil Engineering

Aminath Athifa Shakoor

Started my career in 1982 and served the government in various capacities until the end of 2020, including as; Assistant Director Deputy Director, Director-General, Registrar of Lands, Minister of State for Housing & Infrastructure, and Minister of Housing & Urban Development.

The first housing project in the Maldives (Sina Male’ Flats), as well as the development and urbanization of Villimale’ and many relocation projects were carried out under my supervision, and I was also involved in monitoring various development projects undertaken by the former Male’ Municipality. In addition, I have been involved in the formulation of numerous technical papers, master plans, concepts and standards developed in the country.

Among the many projects that I have been involved in, Villimale’ development and urbanization project and Hulhumale development proposal/planning will be the highlight of my career.

I believe it is paramount to uphold professionalism, ethics, and integrity in whatever you do, and these have formed the foundation of my long career in this industry, as well. It was immensely challenging when I started off, but through my continued and dedicated efforts over the years, I have come to a point where I can look back on the work that I have done with pride and satisfaction.

My advice to aspiring female civil engineers would be to claim this field as their own. You will be unstoppable if your willpower is strong. It may sometimes take a little bit of extra energy, but women have shown that they are as capable as anyone else to be the best in any field they choose.

Aminath Nizar

Engineering, often seen as a man’s job among some circles, is equally a women’s profession. I started my career as an AutoCAD draftsperson, and now have been working in this field for 21 years.

Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to work with the best engineers Maldives has seen, and I feel fortunate to be able to say that they have never made me feel like I do not belong. Despite the lack of opportunities for further studies back then, I never gave up on my dream to establish myself in this field. After completion of my studies, I worked as an engineer and construction contracts administrator for the Public infrastructure sector projects. Managed projects worth USD 15 million above. I am currently working as the Project Director for ADB-funded HDh. Kulhudhuffushi harbour expansion project.

It is a whole new era now compared to the state of the sector back when I began my career. If you are enthusiastic enough to become an engineer and believe in your capabilities, the opportunities are readily available for you to achieve your goals. Civil engineering is a vast field and there are still a lot of sub sectors of the field in which Maldives has limited specialised local expertise. So, on this International Women’s Day, I would encourage aspiring female engineers to recognise the opportunities and potential in this field, and to have confidence in their own capacity to succeed in this industry. Go for it!

Aishath Abdul Rahmaaan

I work as a Civil Engineer at the Project Office of MACL (Maldives Airports Company Limited). For the past 6 years, I have been involved at various levels of managing the ongoing development projects at VIA (Velana International Airport). My most recent major project was the relocation of MNDF airport facility, to make way for the New Runway construction works. I am currently working in the team managing the construction of the New Passenger Terminal Building at VIA. My main areas of work include project management, stakeholder consultation, contract management, site supervision and review of design documents and technical literature. It is a tough job, but at the end of the day, it is fulfilling work and I feel like I am making a difference in the grand scheme of things.

When I decided to study civil engineering, I did not really know how male dominated the industry is in Maldives. It was only after I began working that I realised that the number of female civil engineers in Maldives is comparatively very few. But I didn’t let that discourage me. I chose to adapt to the challenges I faced, both in fieldwork and desk work, and learned to hone my skills with every new experience. I believe diligence and professionalism are the keys to achieving excellence, regardless of gender.

Minha Jameel

I have worked in this field for 10 years. My work mainly consists of project management, site inspections, and monitoring of construction and maintenance works of various infrastructure. Currently, I work at Maldives Airports Company Limited as an Engineer.

This industry is definitely a challenging field to work in, but if you are passionate about it, it will be an adventure.

Message to future engineers – Find out what your passions and interests are, do research, define goals that motivate you, and use them to tailor your career path.

Aminath Shifana

Started my career in 2016 on the “Low Emission Climate Resilient Development” Project in Laamu Atoll by UNDP Maldives. Subsequently joined the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority as an A.Aerodrome Inspector, inspecting aviation infrastructure in all domestic and international airports of Maldives as well as floating platforms (for seaplanes) across the country. In 2019, I managed the relocation and re-assmebly of the historic “Kalhuvakaru Miskiy” which I regard as a once in a lifetime experience and a great privelage. Currently I am working as the project manager of a luxury resort in Baa Atoll, managing their renovation and refurbishment works.

Perseverance and hardwork – that’s all you need to be successful in this field. And yes, as we do face lots of hurdles in this very male dominated industry, however we hope to pave the way for the many female engineers yet to emerge in the future. I hope these posts and messages by Association of Civil Engineers on IWD 2021 is a step forward to create the impact we need, as representation plays a major role in nurturing and aspiring young minds.

Suhaida Ibrahim

I started my career in 2008 as a Project Officer at the then Ministry of Construction & Public Infrastructure, and later re-joined as an Engineer after the completion of my studies.

My journey as a civil engineer has not been easy. It was my passion for engineering that kept me going through the difficult times, when at times the opportunity to perform and utilise my skills were being hindered. I was fortunate to have the luxury of continuous support and guidance from my colleagues, and that put the engineer in me at ease.

For far too long people have been quiet about gender discrimination and taken it too lightly. And as female engineers, it is high time we started uplifting each other and being each other’s support systems. Ensure your female colleagues, be it engineers or any other co-workers or professionals, are comfortable and have equal opportunities to exercise their tasks. An engineer, or any other professional for that matter, ought to be valued on the basis of the context of her job performance rather than how she dresses, or her personal situation, or flattery, etc. And we must understand, as female engineers, that when we rise up the career ladder and become prominent members of the industry, it becomes a duty upon us to nurture the many young women/girls waiting in the wings.

I would like to take this opportunity to raise awareness about gender bias and inequality. Together, we can all challenge the status quo, call out gender inequality wherever we come across it, and create a more inclusive world. So, let us all #choosetochallenge.

Shimya Moosa

I started my career as an Assistant Project Coordinator at Maldives Transport& Contracting Company (MTCC) before joining the Ministry of National Planning & Infrastructure as an Assistant Engineer. I’m currently a Civil Engineer at the same ministry.

In this male-dominated field of engineering, we women can make a significant contribution to the growth of our country’s infrastructure. It is not right that we, who make up half the population of the country, are such a small minority in the sector of infrastructure development. It is encouraging to see that slowly but surely; the imbalance is being corrected with more and more women taking up roles in the construction industry.

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