Siphathisiwe Sibanda

You are worthy. You do not need to be anyone other than yourself to succeed in STEM. Find yourself a good mentor, a great sponsor and a determined coach. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you, challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone.

Country of origin

Zimbabwe

Which company do you work for?

N/A

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Operations

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields?

9 years

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I found myself having to repeatedly prove that I can do the job equally as well or even better than my male colleagues. I found myself questioning whether I fit into this industry. I overcame it by surrounding myself with a great set of mentors, sponsors and other women in the industry that acted as sounding boards, cheerleaders and examples of people I look up to. But most importantly I overcame it by realising I am worthy, I am enough and I do not need to be anything other than myself to succeed.

What inspired you to join this industry?

From a young age, I really enjoyed and was curious about the engineering profession and how it converts raw materials into the essential products that we need in our everyday lives and are essential to our livelihood.

What changes, if any, have you seen in your field with regards to women in your field?

There are slowly but surely more women coming into the engineering space, companies and organisations are putting in more concerted effort into recruiting, developing, retaining and promoting women into senior technical positions.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

We must start at the grassroots and show young girls….and boys that STEM fields are not only for boys but for young girls as well. We must dispel the myth of STEM being a man’s world by showing examples (and there are many) of women that are in STEM and thriving. Representation matters. We must also make the technical workplace more accommodating to women, we must structure our roles with families in mind, roles that accommodate women going and starting families with the sound comfort that they will be able to come back and kick-off where they left off.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

You are worthy. You do not need to be anyone other than yourself to succeed in STEM. Find yourself a good mentor, a great sponsor and a determined coach. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you, challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I love reading, DIY (currently renovating my home with the help of YouTube :-)) and watching F1 racing- the pinnacle of motorsport.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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