We recently caught up with Sophie Huijie Ma who is a Manufacturing Engineering Lead Engineer and is also part of the GEN network. The purpose and vision of the GEN network is to drive, champion and celebrate gender equality and create an inclusive, diverse, and gender-balanced culture. This is something Sophie feels passionately about as she shared her experience with us…
Sophie came to the UK over a decade ago from China to study, doing something different to all those around her, as typically a woman in her community would get married and start a family, but Sophie wanted to follow a different path. Sophie had a passion for engineering and after many years of study managed to get her master’s in engineering, but that was just the start of her challenge.
Even though Sophie had worked hard she still struggled to get an Engineering job and instead had to take a number of temping jobs, travelling up and down the country for work as and when she was required. One of these jobs was an interpreting job that brought her to JLR, whilst she was interpreting, she also brought her CV to hand out to anyone she met – in the hope it would secure her a job – and it did! She started as a contractor, before getting a permanent role.
Sophie always knew Engineering was a male dominated environment but the reality of it even surprised her. Sharing with us: “I often find that I am the only woman in the room, and I sometimes feel my voice isn’t always heard because of that. The GEN network allows people to come together to share their experience and hopefully raise awareness and make improvements within the business.”
Gender equality is important and something that the business is striving to improve but as Sophie tells us, there is still a long way for us to go, “we can’t suffer in silence, and if we don’t raise our concerns and find ways to improve, nothing will change. It’s also about influencing the physical environment and improving facilities such as toilets for female employees.”
There is a lot we can all do to improve gender equality and if this is a subject you feel strongly about or would like to become more involved with, please contact Sophie: firstname.lastname@example.org.