“Engineering was presented to me as the most awesome thing ever, so how could I not choose to be an engineer?” – Ana Margarida Trigo

In “The Guardian” article How changing attitudes are closing the gender gap in engineering it is described that “Engineering is dominated by men, but the women successfully breaking into the sector report good things. Barriers to entry for women are numerable, but career satisfaction is high; more than 80% of female engineers are either happy or extremely happy with their career choice, and 98% find their job rewarding, according to a 2013 survey by the Royal Academy of Engineering.”

IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, is also focusing on Women in Engineering. IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) is a global network of IEEE members and volunteers dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists, and inspiring girls around the world to follow their academic interests in a career in engineering and science.

Many women wonder what’s the secret recipe to be a woman engineer, keeping a balance on your daily work routine and personal life. Ana Cigarán Romero had shared her secret with Region 8 Today.

But many also wonder what can influence a woman to become an engineer. We spoke with Ana Margarida Trigo, a woman Engineer from Portugal, and a very active IEEE volunteer.

R8T: What influenced you to become an engineer?

AT: My father took me to his workplace when I was little. It had an enormous impact on me. He is a production engineer and he was working in the automotive industry. Engineering was presented to me as the most awesome thing ever, so how could I not choose to be an engineer?

R8T: You work in industry, what do you do exactly?

AT: I am doing my PhD on the Advanced Engineering Systems for Industry (AESI) program.

This program is within the industry, in my case with Bosch Car Multimedia. I am working with autonomous vehicles, specifically with vehicles that transport raw materials and finished goods inside the factory, between the warehouse and the shop floor.

R8T: Do you see any lack of female engineers in Portugal?

AT: In the 2017 OCDE study “The pursuit of gender equality: An uphill battle”, Portugal was the number 1 country with the highest number of women pursuing studies in STEM, with the share of 57%. Although, only 26.6% of the engineers professionals in Portugal are women. I am sad to say that observing only engineering courses related to computers, electronics, networking, mechatronics, mechanics and aeroespacial we have a lack of female professionals. Girls still choose more engineering courses related to biology, medicine or similars. (If you want to learn more about Portugal and know some of the female role-models in science in Portugal, I recommend this video:

R8T: You are an active IEEE member. Do you participate in any actions to encourage young women to get closer with engineering?

AT: Yes, whenever I can. The literature says 66% of girls who decided to become an engineer, had one familiar or a close friend working in engineering.  Since WiE-PT affinity group was launched, we did a huge number of activities to promote engineering with younger girls and boys.

The Portuguese government began to support these activities and there is a special program to encourage young girls, called “Engineers for 1 day” (“Engenheiras por 1 dia”). The governmental office links schools with local female engineers, facilitating the activities to happen.

R8T: What’s your superpower?

AT: “I can change the world. I am an Engineer.” (WiE slogan is just awesome)

R8T: Closing Question: What’s your favorite Portuguese wine?

AT: Well, I don’t usually drink wine. But Moscatel and Oporto type of wines are my favorites.


Ana Margarida Trigo, earlier in 2019 she was awarded with the Networking and Systems EngineerAward by CISCO” during the Portuguese Women in Tech Awards