As Namibia celebrates International Women’s Day 2020 on Sunday March 8th, we share the journey of women of achievement at NamPower. As organizations create equal employment and growth opportunities for female employees, NamPower’s Etuhole Mbango, an Assistant Engineer, shares her story.
WO: Kindly give us a brief introduction of yourself, your position and your area of responsibility at NamPower?
EM: My name is Etuhole Mbango. I am an Electrical Engineer by profession and I am currently working as an Assistant Engineer on the development of capital projects in the Power Generation Sector of NamPower.
WO: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
EM) For me an international women’s day means celebrating and recognizing women’s achievements and contributions to the social, economic, technical, cultural, and political spheres. Women are a gift from God. They are nurturing, resilient, brave, and patient and are pillars of strength in their families and societies. A day like this reminds us all of this.
WO: What is your view about opportunities for women in your sector?
EM) I must say today women are getting better opportunities in the technical sector compared to the past. There is, however, still an existing misconception that technical roles are a better fit for men. This misconception is actually inherently embedded in our minds. If I ask you to picture a Mechanical Engineer, I can almost be certain that you will picture a man in a helmet and overalls. There is, therefore, still room for improvement in recognizing the capabilities of women especially in technical-oriented roles.
WO: Would you say women are getting equal opportunity when it comes to certain roles in your organisation?
EM: Adverts for work opportunities nowadays usually state that “women are encouraged to apply”. This shows that organisations are working towards uplifting women and providing them with equal opportunities as men in certain roles.
WO: What have been the challenges facing women in your current role and how have you managed to overcome them?
EM: Having to put in extra effort to prove my capabilities has been my greatest challenge. I strive to take lead on tasks and to ensure my work output does not only meet the minimum requirements but surpasses the required quality standard. This requires a lot of effort and time as well.
WO: Do you have any regrets regarding your career choice?
EM: I do not have any regrets on my choice to pursue an engineering career. It also comes from a personal trait of believing in myself and that I can do anything that I put my mind to. I enjoy solving technical problems, being creative and innovative. My career allows me to do that. It also provides me with a platform to contribute to the development of power generating projects and in turn on the sustainable development of our country.
WO: Kindly share with us how you have managed to balance your work and family role?
EM: I focus on work, when I’m at work. When it is time to go home, I go home and give just as much focus to my personal life. Sometimes having to work overtime or to travel to a project site is inevitable. In such cases, I take it on because of the passion that I have for what I do. Then when I have the opportunity to take time off work, I ensure I allocate it to my personal life.
WO: What factors can you say have also contributed to your growth in the organisation?
EM: Factors such as provision for personal development through training, secondments on projects and visiting already implemented projects similar to those that I work on. A significant factor that has immensely contributed to my growth in the organisation, was being seconded on a Solar Photovoltaic Project from initiation to completion, in another town for 7 months. It was my first complete project and I was on a site with hundreds of men and only four women. I must say this exposure has not only enhanced my technical knowledge and professional development, but has also allowed me to grow as a person.
WO: What do you think are the top challenges for ANY working woman in today’s world?
EM: Having to balance work and family or personal life. With so many responsibilities that women take on in society, it takes real inner strength to thrive at both work and life.
WO: What have you learned about yourself and about the industry while working at NamPower?
EM: I have learned and realised that I really am capable of adding value in my industry. I have also noticed that there is a paradigm shift in the industry, more women are getting into previously male-dominated environments and organisations are contributing to breaking down barriers that previously hindered women from entering such environments.
WO: If another woman was considering a career in your field and sector, what advice would you give her?
EM: Go for it. If you have a passion for designing solutions, if you are curious about how things work, if you are ready to work hard, then go for it. Women, being creative and resilient, are very much capable of succeeding in these previously male-oriented careers.
WO: Is there anything else you would like to add?
EM: To any woman out there feeling inadequate or incapable, remember this: you are God’s gift to society. Own your space and thrive in it!