Happy International Women’s Day! This week we have been highlighting the experiences of women throughout the world. We have highlighted Egypt and South Sudan with more to come! Today’s blog post is brought to you from Fatima Azzahra El Azzouzi, a female engineer from Morocco.
SPOTLIGHT – Women Engineers in Morocco
Located at the West of North Africa, Morocco draws the diversity of its cultures from its proximity to Europe, the Arab world, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The female workforce in Morocco is active in various sectors, but let’s shed a light for a moment on the Moroccan women who have chosen a male-dominated world: Engineering. Women engineers in Morocco might be outnumbered but they are not outmanned… or rather they are not out-woman-ned! I am taking the privilege of creating that neologism on this 8th of March!
From students on the benches of engineering schools to top executives in large organizations, women in engineering are demonstrating excellence in the field and often outperforming their male counterparts. Statistics about the representativeness of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields in are not available but it’s sufficient to visit any engineering circle to notice the disparity in numbers. It is no surprise given that women often represent less than 20% of engineering students even in the most developed countries.
In the workforce, it’s becoming easier for women in Morocco to enjoy a professional career in engineering, partly because there are more and more of them proving to companies that they can deliver outstanding results and bring unique attributes to the workplace. This said, some disciplines such as software engineering count more female engineers than other more traditionally male disciplines such as civil, industrial or mining engineering. Ahlam Takaoute, a young industrial engineer working closely with older male colleagues at the factory, explains: “As a woman engineer, it’s always hard to find a job in the industrial arena. Although entrepreneurs are starting to trust women on the job, they still hold the prejudice that the operators and technicians won’t accept a woman as their supervisor, and so they prefer to recruit men.”
Let us focus today on the bright side, and celebrating a handful of overachieving Moroccan women engineers:
- Dr. Merieme Chadid, astrophysicist engineer, the first woman astronomer to reach the South Pole
- Ghannou Laassiri, the first woman Topographical Engineer in Morocco
- Dr. Amina Benkhadra, mining engineer, former Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment
- Dr Najat rochdi, computer scientist, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Geneva
- Dr. Asma Kasmi, chemical engineer, UNESCO Chair “Water, Women and Decision Power”
We owe it to these women engineers and many more like them around the globe who continue to pave the way to a more fair and comfortable environment for girls and women who have a passion for engineering.
About the Author: Fatima Azzahra El Azzouzi
Fatima Azzahra is an engineer from Casablanca, Morocco. She holds a Master’s degree in control engineering and Bachelor’s degree in computer science. She is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).