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Women's Voices in Engineering and Science: 4 stories at INEGI

08 March 2023

To celebrate International Women's Day, four INEGI employees share their experiences about how they entered and thrived in the world of engineering and science. They talk about their daily lives at INEGI, the projects that most excite them, and the power of diversity.

Gisela Santos
Director | Industrial Engineering and Management

Gisela Santos joined INEGI in 2013 as a consultant and project manager, an area that conquered her for "exposure to different realities every day". a job that, she says, "doesn't have routines, and is a great school, where you learn a lot and very quickly".

At INEGI, she highlights the "good environment and openness to creativity and innovation". In her day-to-day life, she says that it is very gratifying "to support the definition of strategy in companies, but also to support the implementation stages. In these cases, it is possible to see a «before» and an «after», leaving a mark”.

Regarding the question of the stereotype of engineering and science as a world of men, she points out that, in the field of management and industrial engineering, "there are more and more women with a seat at the decision-making table", altough to get there they "have to go through careers in operations and in the field, which are still seen as essentially male careers”. Despite this, she claims that the paradigm is rapidly changing and that there are more and more women in the sector leading teams.


Ana Pereira
Engineer | Product and Systems Development

Ana Pereira has been at INEGI since 2019, and today she is part of a team dedicated to the development of products and systems for the aerospace sector. She says that entering the engineering world  "was a very logical choice", the result of "the curiosity I've always had to understand how all things work".

She recognizes that there are still gender stereotypes in the Portuguese business fabric, but she did not let that stop her, since "new paths can only be made by walking them, and if someone is competent and likes a certain area, they should not let themselves be deterred". Ana Pereira she has never been confronted with this stereotype at INEGI, but stresses that "it is important to recognize that it still exists and that it is up to us, women, to take our place in engineering and science with our heads held high”.

About what excites her in her daily life at INEGI, she highlights "working with a young and highly motivated team of people" and "the plurality of sectors of activity with which we can contact”. The aerospace sector is particularly challenging and therefore even more interesting.


Beatriz Maia
Researcher | Composite Materials and Structures

Joining INEGI in 2020 was a milestone in Beatriz Maia's professional life. She entered with the intention of carrying out her master's thesis in the area of intelligent materials and it was during this experience that she "realized that I wanted to be a scientist". Curiosity and the desire to contribute to "the scientific development of this emerging area in Portugal” were the main reasons that attracted her to this career.

Today she is in the second year of her doctorate, dedicated to the subject of materials for energy storage. But it's not just research that thrills her in her day-to-day life at INEGI. She also highlights the relationship with colleagues and the constant growth and learning as important factors to stay motivated.

Beatriz Maia believes that what is important is that there are "good scientists, whether green, pink or purple, with X chromosomes or Y chromosomes". The ideal future for the researcher is one where it is not necessary "to have a women's day or a women's day in science", but where we value the work of "the those who are good at what they do, and not because of necessity to make something equivalent”.

Ana Guerra
Researcher | Biomechanics and Health

It was her PhD that brought Ana Guerra to INEGI, where she is currently a researcher in the field of health. Asked why she chose this career, she says that "research is rewarding and challenging. It gives us the freedom to see and think about problems from a different perspective, in an attempt to contribute to society”.

At INEGI, she works in "the area of computer simulation of angiogenesis, that is, the formation of small-caliber blood vessels". She reveals that her background was in the laboratory, but that when she started his PhD at INEGI, she discovered "the world of simulation and how this can be useful to complement experimental studies” and found a workplace with an enormous "flexibility of knowledge application areas”.

Asked about stereotypes about engineering and science, the researcher replies that "I think it's disappearing, there are more and more women engineers, and women engineers in relevant positions. In my day-to-day life, I don't notice any additional advantages or disadvantages".

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