June 23, 2021


By 2019 Diana Award recipient, Marigold Mioc from Alberta, Canada

Marigold uses funds raised from her headband-making business ‘Marigold’s Heart Garden’ to help others. Marigold is also a Youth Ambassador for hundrED Organisation and has taken on numerous leadership courses including a WE Organisation Trip with One Woman. Marigold also raises money within her local community, supporting Angel Hair for Kids, Meal on Wheels and many more.

Now in its eighth year, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), on 23 June, is the only day in the calendar that celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of women in engineering and allied professions. The day has grown enormously over the years, to the point where it received UNESCO patronage in 2016. In 2017 INWED was born to allow the celebration of women in engineering to become global.

As part of celebrating INWED celebrations today, I’d like to share my story and personal experience with you…

Marigold Mioc, founder of ‘Marigold’s Heart Garden’.

My mother has a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology. She attended college in the 1990’s and was the only female in her class during one of the semesters. Throughout the other three semesters, there were only two or three females in the entire class.

Although she was welcomed at school and in the workplace, she gave in to the pressure from people around her who convinced her that engineering was not a suitable field for a woman to pursue a career in. As a result, she lost confidence in her abilities and began to feel as though she didn’t belong.

We need to normalise women in engineering and offer support.

I am a Youth Ambassador for an organisation called ‘Apar Initiative’, and my mother is the Programs Manager. We work towards empowering youth to develop STEM and leadership capabilities to help them reach their potential. My mother and I also volunteer with ‘Engineers Without Borders-Calgary City Chapter’ which brings professionals together to tackle the crucial causes of poverty and inequality.

Nowadays, there are many more women in engineering programs, but females still make up only 20% of graduates. And if we consider the engineering workforce as a whole, only 10% is female. Additionally, it has been estimated that up to 40% of women who earn engineering degrees either resign before long, or do not enter the profession at all.

One of the biggest challenges, due to societal norms and pressures introduced early on, is that many women don’t feel confident that they belong in the industry. They may underestimate their skills and not feel that they can succeed in technical roles.   

We need to encourage young girls and boys that the opportunities in our world are endless and build up their confidence to enable them to tackle these challenges.  At Apar Initiative, we provide equal opportunities to males and females from a diverse ethno-cultural and societal background to bring equity, build confidence, and build a community along the way.

Marigold meets her role model, Malala, at the Art of Leadership for Women conference in Canada.

What can we do to further drive change?

  • The importance of role models: Shining a spotlight on successful female engineers can be motivating and shows younger generations what is possible for a career in engineering.
  • Foster an inclusive environment at school and in the workplace: Females must feel safe in these spaces. If they experience harassment, they need to feel secure enough to ask for assistance and to know that abuse will not be tolerated.
  • Frequent feedback and inclusive team meetings: Detailed, personalised feedback can help build confidence in technical abilities and encourage a sense of belonging
  • Men as allies: Recognising unconscious bias and identifying them. Men can work on removing these biases in the interest of equality and changing the attitudes towards equality for female engineers.
  • Leadership and positive mindset training: Developing skills in these areas will instill more confidence in women, which can help them to feel more secure in their capabilities and working environment.

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