Although men are historically overrepresented in the industry, can we state that Quality is a profession for men? Moreover, should we, in any way, perceive a profession as traditionally masculine or feminine?
International Women’s Day is approaching. Instead of celebrating women for the values society traditionally attributes to them, TRIGO decided to interview some of its female engineers and share their stories with you… We wanted to know what the drive behind their passion for quality was and how they managed to succeed in a primarily male-dominated industry. Enjoy reading this article, and from a new perspective, take a look at Quality – What It Feels Like for a Girl?

Q: Let’s jump back in time! If I asked your 12-year-old self what she’d like to become when she grows up, what would her answer be?

Krisztina MUST (Expert Projects Coordinator, TRIGO Hungary): I am pretty sure that even back then, I planned to do something in connection with mechanical engineering, but to tell the truth, I don’t think I had more vivid ideas about it at the age of 12.

Marie-Laure PLOTEAU (Aerospace Business Processes & Quality Manager, TRIGO Qualitaire): When I was 12 years old, I didn’t know what I’d like to become. I just wanted to study because it was important for me; studying was the best way to become someone in the future and it was important for me to choose a good job. But what job? When I was 14-15 years old, I wanted to become a social worker to help others and because I liked listening to people.

Lin XIANG (Country Quality Manager, TRIGO China): When I was 12, I wanted to be a teacher of geography or history, because I liked these subjects very much and I also liked to tell stories to others.

Houda ZAOUJAL (Quality Engineer and Assistant Site Manager, TRIGO Morocco): When I was 12, I just wanted to be an engineer. I had this picture in my mind that engineering is the most important job in life and I thought without engineering, the other professions
would not exist.

Q: When and how did you decide that you wanted to work in quality? Why? What was the drive for it?

KM: Back in college, I studied materials technology and quality, because I found the discipline exciting… That was obviously a significant point, but I think I
was quite certain, even in high school, that I wanted to study something related to technology processes, so I think I was around 17.

MLP: I decided to work in quality after two years of studies: I remember I was very interested in the subject (even though the course was short). I also knew that I liked organizing things, and to start or initiate something good. I met a person who helped
me to find the appropriate training, so I guess it was also the case that I met “the right person in the right time”. I think “Quality” is just a part of me!

LX: When I went to university, my major was quality. I immediately got passionate about it, because I realized that I like to help people to solve their problems.

HZ: I took the decision to work in quality during the project which I had to do in order to have my diploma validated. The project took place in the quality sector. I realized that working in the quality business feels natural to me… It suited my personality and I felt that I have the required assets to have a good career as a quality engineer.

Q: What does the word “quality” mean to you?

KM: Meeting customer satisfaction through addressing their real and latent demands. When I think about everyday life, I think quality means getting something worthy for a good price.

MLP: Quality means “doing something correctly” to me… Yes, but “to respect others” too. It is like gaining the trust of our friends.

LX: It means “rules”.

HZ: Quality, for me, is a kind of guarantee of well-being.

Q: What is the best and most difficult thing about your job?

KM: I love communicating with people, this is definitely one of the best part of my job. The most difficult part is, I assume, that I need to manage the work of 52 people. Coordination is tough enough, but when it comes to 52 people scattered around a site huge in perimeters, it makes the task extra challenging.

MLP: I think the best thing is to succeed in raising people’s interest [in quality]. At the same time, I think the most difficult thing in this job is to persuade/ convince others, and never give up. It is sometimes also difficult to monitor if people follow the rules they have set themselves before!

LX: The most difficult thing is to make people understand quality is not an extra work for them. The best thing is when you see that your own quality solution
works well.

HZ: What I like the most about my job is the diversity of challenges I meet every day. However, in our job, the required physical effort is sometimes really hard for a woman.

Q: Do you think quality is for men?

KM: I don’t think quality is for men. Especially, because I can see a tendency that more and more female auditors are present in the profession.

MLP: For me it isn’t a question of gender!

LX: No. Lots of women work in quality in China, as I know.

HZ: I don’t think so.

Q: Do you think that some professions are for women and others are for men?
KM: I’d rather say that there are professions where women are underrepresented. For instance, I am fond of Formula 1, where we do not know any female pilots… I think it’s the industry which doesn’t want to integrate women, though.

MLP: Not really… I think it’s a matter of belief and passion.

LX: No. I think almost all professions are for both genders.

HZ: To me, some professions demand a lot of physical effort which can be difficult for a woman. However, each woman can define her capacities and her tendencies. I mean, if she feels capable, why couldn’t she work in the industry?

Q: Have you ever experienced in your career that you were judged by your gender not by your achievements?

KM: Even in college, I experienced that some professors thought that engineering is for men. Therefore I needed to work harder than the guys. I needed to prove that I was competent despite being a woman, which is strange.

MLP: No, I don’t remember anything like that.

LX: This happened seldom.

HZ: No.

Q: How do you picture your career in 10 years’ time? What is your career dream?

KM: My career dream is being responsible for quality in Formula 1.

MLP: It has always been a difficult question for me since I was young! I’d like to continue to have an interesting job with a lot of changes. For example, I will have a lot of new challenges during the introduction of some new quality tools. Or perhaps my job will change... I would like to manage my job myself or to create an original business.

LX: When I started my career in quality, I just thought that it was about products. After about 20 years working in this area, now I know quality has a broader scope… I always think there are lots of things I can study from quality.

HZ: In 10 years’ time, I would like to work as a businesswoman.

Q: What are your hobbies?

KM: Reading, Formula 1 and cycling.

MLP: My work, nature and gardening and DIY.

LX: Travelling and reading.

HZ: DIY, cooking and gardening.

Q: What is your all-time favorite song/movie/ novel/city, and why?

KM: I would like to travel to Maranello, Italy. Why? Because Ferrari’s HQ is there.

MLP: My favorite song is Diego by Michel Berger because it‘s a song about free [self-]expression and I also love the music. My favorite movie is Avatar by James Cameron because it’s just beautiful! And when it comes to novels, I like Red Dragon by Thomas Harris because it was the first book I read and I was really scared!

LX: It’s the song of “Edelweiss” because it makes me feel peaceful.

HZ: I do not really have one favorite movie, novel or song. I like all that are pretty and things that makes me happy.