The 5th World Engineering Conference and Convention (WECC2015) was held November 29 through December 2, 2015, in Kyoto, Japan. Held once every four years, WECC is the international flagship event of World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO). The main theme of WECC2015 was “Engineering: Innovation and Society.” Thousands of engineers, researchers, professors, and students met to discuss the status of Engineering, as well as future prospects and innovations.
WECC2015 covered various areas, Energy, Mobile, etc. In addition, decreasing number of engineers is a big issue. Education and women in engineering are key factors to challenge this issue. Rocket Software attended the event as a general sponsor, and I personally organized and led a session titled “Promoting young women in Engineering.” My role as session organizer was planning and carrying out the panel. We selected four panelists; three were young female leaders and managers with multi-cultural backgrounds (Japanese, Chinese, and American). The fourth panelist was an HR manager of a global company. We asked them to discuss some of the challenges they face globally, and also discuss some best practices.
When the day of the panel came on December 1, I was pleased so see that the audience was full of both women and men. The panelists gave an impressive performance, and touched on many important points.
- Lianzi Wen from China has changed careers several times, first moving from elementary school teacher to quality assurance at IBM. She studied and worked hard, and when she was ready, worked with her manager to move into a software engineer position. She mentioned that Japanese women tend to be more hesitant. Her advice to young women was “don’t hesitate and challenge yourself!”
- Saeko Awata, a manager at Fujitsu, spent her childhood in U.S. She was proud of the Japanese manufacturing sector, giving an example of the large number of Japanese cars and games widely used in U.S. Her wish is to broaden the reach of Japanese technology, and she leads global projects with this passion.
- Junko Fujiwara is a senior development manager and an enthusiastic programmer at Microsoft. She originally did not want to be a manager; however, her mind was changed by a female manager from the US. Junko realized that she can deliver more exciting and valuable products by leading a team, and she suggested jumping into new and exciting experiences. She also stressed the importance of mentoring and training.
- Murali Marath, Head of Human Resources at APJ, Wipro Limited discussed proactively promoting female engineers proactively at his company. These tactical activities help to increase the number of women in management positions and decrease the attrition rate.
Something the panelists had in common was working in environments where training and education was considered important. And if there was one thing the panelists all agreed on it was this: Do not hesitate. Tackle new and exciting roles with enthusiasm! You can deliver more exciting and valuable products by working with your team.”
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