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Engineer is one of few women in a male-led profession
The phrase ‘one of the boys’ has particular meaning for Phyllis Barron.
The mother of two is one of just two female engineers out of the 40-strong team employed at Begbroke-based music technology firm Solid State Logic.
She said: “I have always worked in very male-dominated places and have gone to quite a few conferences where I have been the only woman.”
Even at university, she was one of five women studying alongside 115 male undergraduates.
But far from bemoaning the situation at Solid State Logic, which produces consoles for recording studios, she believes there are plus-points.
She said: “Men are very easy to work with and most are results-driven, rather than personal.
“If I am being corrected, It’s not because that person doesn’t like me, it’s because my work isn’t good.”
Before joining Solid State Logic two years ago, 38-year-old Ms Barron worked for Sharp Electronics, Hitachi and Siemens.
She happily moved around to find promotion but since having her two sons, aged seven and 11, has settled in South Hinksey.
A career in engineering never occurred to her while at school.
She said: “I had very good grades in all my subjects except art and went through phases of thinking I wanted to be a doctor, then a lawyer but never an engineer.
“But I discovered I didn’t have a sense of smell, so all avenues that included chemistry were shut off.”
During a visit to Nottingham University, she wandered into the electronics and engineering department and found herself signing up for a degree in it.
“It looked really interesting and I was instantly grabbed by the idea,” she added.
She would like to see more women take up engineering.
“When we advertise for engineers at Solid State Logic, we don’t get many applications from girls.
“It’s probably because engineering has been portrayed as a testosterone-fuelled, geeky environment that girls steer away from.
“A lot of girls sadly feel they can’t do maths or physics and may have grown up hearing their mothers say: ‘I can’t do maths’.”
Her own mother talked to her from a young age about going to university and told her: “you can be whatever you want to be”.
Her message to females who think they might enjoy a career in engineering is that prospects are excellent as there is a shortage of skilled engineers.
“It pays well, there are opportunities to travel and plenty of chances to progress career-wise.
“I was promoted to a managerial position recently, so I am proof that you can be a mother and an engineer.”
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