MBA alumnus Ahmed El-Hamaky is Regional Manager – Middle East, Africa and Turkey, for OMICRON and is based in Bahrain.
When I was studying the change management module with The Open University back in 2013, specifically the six-step model of change, I wondered if I could inspire huge change with one step and then others would follow. Here’s how I applied my thoughts, in practice.
I felt a genuine sense of urgency to empower female electrical engineers, in the Middle East and Africa. Since graduating in 2000 from the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, I noticed that the ratio was six men to one woman in the workplace and that cultural aspects did not support female engineers going to sites and learning practical aspects following their academic studies. I have met professional female electrical engineers adding great value to the industry who are patient team players and inspiring leaders, who are both creative and also pay attention to detail.
Unfortunately, there are a lack of statistics and facts about the number of active female electrical engineers in the Middle East and Africa. However, walk into a classroom of architectural engineering students and the odds are a substantial number of them will be women. Now head next door to an electrical engineering class and you’ll likely find many more men than women. I believe the gap is not only from being empowered in universities or workplaces but also with family perceptions and pressures for a girl who dreams of becoming an electrical engineer.
In September 2020, we decided to be proactive in the region and initiated an event supported by my own organisation. OMICRON Energizing Women (OEW) is a purpose-driven initiative undertaken by OMICRON MEA to energise young female electrical engineers and help pave their way to success. OEW hosted four pioneering electrical engineers from the UAE, Kenya, Nigeria and Austria who took part in an inspiring panel discussion attended by 31 of their peers. They discussed the challenges of being part of a male-dominated field and industry perceptions, as well as the struggle of balancing their personal and work lives. The four panellists shared their own struggles and journeys to success.
In future, and to create a better environment for women engineers, OEW, male professionals and decision makers from the industry will all be invited to share insights and suggestions. I believe that our contribution will inspire and motivate the community and decision makers to continue the whole change management cycle and to empower female electrical engineers in the Middle East and Africa!