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Insights #INWED20: Principal process engineer Carinne on shaping the world

Carinne Plantin has worked at Atkins for 8 years and is a principal process engineer in our Resources sector. She is the subject matter expert for Gas Processing and provide technical advice to teams in the wider Atkins and AtkinsRéalis Group. 

Image of Carinne smiling at her desk

Carinne’s role includes study lead for up front engineering studies, from feasibility to FEED studies, verification of calculations and deliverables, managing and supervising younger engineers working on the projects, providing technical expertise for clients, and bidding and business development activities. 

In the lead up to International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on 23 June, #insideAtkins is speaking to colleagues from across our business about their perspectives on gender balance in our industry and how they plan to ‘Shape the Future” for others. Here, Carinne talks about her experience and thoughts about why taking action towards improving D&I is so important.

Was there a definitive moment in your life that steered you towards a career in the industry? 

There was not a particular moment when I decided towards a career in the industry. I always thought I would be an engineer, probably because my father is an engineer too. So, I did project myself quite early in a technical career and didn’t think about gender impact when choosing my career path.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do?

I like working with a team and accomplishing an objective together is a key reward. Most of the complex projects can only be achieved thanks to the combined effort with people working together towards the same target. Working as a team, supporting and motivating each other, sometimes during challenging times, is what gives me energy every day.

How has your experience been as a woman in the industry? Is it what you expected, for better or for worse?

I am quite lucky, because I’ve worked in companies who did not have strong pre-defined ideas about women in the engineering world. And I feel that I got the same opportunities as men throughout my career, with opportunities to travel and to progress. That said, in the industry I am working in, women are not the majority, and I have been several times in situations where I was the only women in the room. There is still progress to be made to encourage women in technical careers.

Why do you think awareness and action around diversity and inclusion is important to the engineering industry?

People mentality tends to change very slowly. So, without a push for awareness about gender equity in the industry, we may be in the same situation in 20 years’ time, with the same small proportion of women in technical careers. It is important that we reflect a message of change particularly for the young generation deciding their future now. 

The theme of this year’s International Women in Engineering Day is “Shape the World”. What kind of world would you like to see for women in engineering?

I like to see women taking the same career opportunities than men. Shaping the world for women in engineering is part of a wider mind change, in my view, and encompasses our view of the family. Taking care of the children or taking a parental leave is more and more supported by men, and this is essential for women to progress in their careers. We often say that “Behind a great career man, there is a great woman”-  it would be good that the reverse becomes true as well.

What’s one action that people can take to help make a career in STEM a more attractive choice for women?

The best action is to provide examples of women in technical careers and try to reduce the cliché about technical jobs being led by men. The girls should be able to dream about being an astronaut or an engineer, the same way little boys do. Children books or toys should demonstrate those possibilities to the younger children, so that the gender question is no longer a question.    

Discover more about our equality, diversity & inclusion journey and the pledges we've made to our people so far.