We also spoke to Annamaria Greenwood, a Materials, Corrosion and Inspection Engineer for The Vertech Group. Her experiences have taken her worldwide, and she encountered many hurdles along the way. Read Annamaria’s interview below:
1) Name: Annamaria Greenwood
2) Occupation: Materials, Corrosion and Inspection Engineer
3) Why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day?:
To celebrate all the people, women and men, who have worked together and spent their time and energy building a world where men and women are equal. Equal at work, at home and in the eyes of the law and government. But I believe it is important to remember that equality does not mean we are the same. We are not. We think differently, behave differently, and what is essential to us differs. It is crucial that in the strive for equality, women don’t fall into the trap of sameness and ‘become’ men.
4) Throughout your career, have there been any barriers that you’ve had to face?:
Many, not having a toilet to go to on the site and having to go to the nearest pub being one of them! Having my dinner taken away from me before I had eaten it by a waiter in the hotel where we were staying after working on some jetties with a colleague, he thought I was the mistress! Another funny episode was that I was travelling to work with some equipment, and since the ‘Troubles’ were on in Belfast, there was a man at the airport to question passengers. He would not believe that I was an engineer nor that the equipment was mine. I think I had to get him to call my Company to corroborate!
When I first started working, I rarely met other women engineers. I worked on the building of the Lagna Weir in Belfast; there were over 1000 people on-site. There were two women engineers on-site, myself and a Civil Engineer, Shona, who was the same age as me. This could be both a positive and a negative. Positive in that most people knew you and, for the most part, wanted to help you. A negative is that you did have to be very self-sufficient and believe in yourself, but this was good for you.
I don’t think that I felt the barriers so much, sometimes people were a little dubious when they first met you, but once you proved yourself, you never had to do it again. I worked in all sorts of environments, on rigs, FPSO’s, construction sites in Northern Ireland and South Korea, power stations in Egypt, chasing intelligent pigs around New Zealand, Abseiling inspection in New Zealand and inspecting jetties/motorways in UK and Jersey. The offices were the more challenging places where you tended to meet with more issues.
In fact, I think there seem to be more barriers in some ways now. As women, we sometimes don’t tend to support each other as much as we should. It is hard to be a woman in any field, as we not only work, but we care for the people around us at work and often have families that we support – our partners, children and also extended family, siblings, grandparents, and friends. We need to support opposed to fighting against each other.
5) What is the most important advice you’ve been given?:
Always seek to step out of my comfort zone, however much it scares me.
Only then do you learn about yourself and everything around you? When you become comfortable, I think, you become blinkered and look inwards rather than at yourself. I believe life is about more than just ourselves; we can influence and change for the better.