Engineering a balanced workplace

Engineering a balanced workplace

August is Women’s Month and as such we celebrate the role of women in particularly male dominated fields.

One of these women who have made a success in a man’s world, Maria Marquez, has found a home at 3M, filling the role of applications development engineer, specialising in abrasives.

On her role at the company, Marquez says she is very busy with various things, namely customer support within automotive markets, being the link between the company and the client, quality control during all stages of manufacturing, training operators and other engineers, and analysing and mapping processes. “We don’t sell products, we sell solutions to keep the customer happy,” she says.

Marquez did not always dream of being an engineer, focusing on business studies to work in the family business in Mexico, she found that the men she worked with did not give much attention to her input because she did not have an engineering qualification, so she decided to get the respect she deserved by getting the qualifications they deemed so important.

“My journey to engineering started about 20 years ago as a single mother who was trying to juggle all my responsibilities, raising my child, working, and studying at the same time,” says Marquez.

When she got the opportunity to work in South Africa, she took the leap and she says it was a good choice she made. “South Africa gives good support to women and it should be happening everywhere in the world,” she adds.

On whether or not she finds men treat her differently, Marquez says she thinks men may be scared and treat her differently because they feel threatened and women have to work much harder just to get respect. “Women are more passionate than men and they can think outside the box, to have that balance in the workplace is very important,” says Marquez.

When she’s not working, she loves to cook, do yoga and cycle, do photography, and appreciate South Africa’s bushveld and wildlife.

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