World War I saw a role reversal for the first time in history. Since most healthy men of age were away at war, the responsibility fell on the women to work to keep food on the table. Women were lining up to get jobs in factories and manufacturing units, which were traditionally run by men. When the war ended and men were back to regain their jobs, women who were proud and self-sufficient bread earners by then wished to stay occupied. In June 1919, something incredible and unprecedented happened, when seven women came together in London to found the world’s first Women’s Engineering Society (WES).  Thus marks the beginning of building a strong network of women engineers across the globe, where fortified women encouraged other women to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Today, there are more than 1 Million women working in central roles across disciplines in STEM. According to a Wise report “The number of women in engineering has almost doubled in the last decade – from just over 25,000 to more than 50,000…. Thanks to an increase of more than 350,000 women in core STEM roles in the last 10 years, women now reportedly make up 28% of the core workforce.” 
It is indeed encouraging to see women in engineering hold many top positions, owing to the conducive environment provided by organizations that move away from stereotypes and are proudly talent-driven, and have vowed to foster talent instead of bias and prejudices. Many core engineering companies today are glad to have women leaders who bring in the much needed diversity in talent. They have integrated women fully into the mainstream system through training, mentorship and equal opportunity to grow and to be valued.
“Engineering touches every aspect of human life. It, undoubtedly, provides solutions to numerous challenges faced by society and mankind. Given that it is such a huge diaspora, the need for engineering innovation requires equal efforts from both men and women. An organization represents society as a whole, and is a key to drive transformation. We pride ourselves in being a boundary-less organization, which means we not only imbibe diversity, it is also a part of our DNA. How can we talk about technical advancement while missing out on the change championship that women in engineering bring in? If engineering is about solving puzzles in the jigsaw, then women hold some very key pieces. To create sustainable change, we need to shift the target increasingly from the individual decision-makers to organizational processes. The possibilities that QuEST offers, is open to both men and women and we welcome ideas and thoughts to further our progress in this journey.”
– Sonia Kutty, Head – Global Human Resources, QuEST Global
Change Championship being core to QuEST, we have an innovation-friendly atmosphere that has encouraged many amazing women in engineering to become role models in the last two decades. They inspire us with their stories. These women in engineering cherish their careers as much as they cherish their selves, families, interests and other associated effects. They are fiercely assertive, authoritative, distinctive, and tenacious with a never-say-die attitude.
“Today, we see that women with engineering backgrounds develop technologies that change the lives of people across the globe – be it life sciences, automotive or industrial. They become role models, inspiring more girls and boys to pursue the STEM field. This for sure will nurture a new generation of innovators and technologists, who can make this world a better place”
~ Sindhu Ramachandran
Some technologists strongly believe in frugal innovation and tend to ‘practice what they preach’. At QuEST, Sindhu Ramachandran is one such example of ‘Women in Engineering’. Her in-depth research in advanced usage of AI in the fields of automobiles, medical imaging, and electronics has helped solve critical, complex and large-scale tech challenges for many global companies, but also helped gain a thought leadership position in the current market scenario.
Sindhu helped set up the QuEST AI Intel lab and mentored many future leaders and technologists like her. She started the initiative for the Deep Learning platform, Skylark. Since then, she has been spearheading the platform with ideas and options to make features richer. She has not only driven the AI Partnership activities but her exemplary contribution in creating demos using deep learning in Automotive and Hi-tech for various international tech symposiums are some of her wonders as a true technology enthusiast. She has presented some very noteworthy papers in some prestigious tech publications on futuristic subjects. She, recently, co-authored a paper ‘Lung nodule detection from CT scan using Intel Processors’ with Gina Mathew and Suchithra that was accepted by IEEE TENCON 2019.
“Women have a greenfield to prove themselves in engineering and rise up to the leadership level as numbers are few and acceptance is increasing.”
~ Maneesha Nanda
Currently, Maneesha is working on a solution that optimizes the storage and network bandwidth by eliminating the duplicate data at rest as well as in transition. The solution took hours of research, in-depth study and use of mathematical algorithms to eliminate duplicate data. The solution reconstructs the data stream based upon its signature and information present in the system at the granular level. The use of the solution is industry-agnostic and can be implemented in content storage and distribution solutions.
Maneesha proves that by thinking beyond the familiar, women can have successful engineering careers. With her ability to make better, quicker decisions and wholehearted contribution to help advance engineering, she stands apart from her league.
“Engineering offers exciting prospects and fascinating work and is indeed an enriching journey for women. Women are particularly receptive and open-minded to concepts that have social value and practical applications, and after all, it’s women who achieve more first-class degrees!”
Shefali has been working on turning her ideas into reality while keeping her sight on technical advancement to solve societal problems. Predominantly in Security Domain, she has been working on finding a solution for securing data in lost devices and avoiding misuse by miscreants in case of device theft. The solution is a “threshold-based” workflow engine, targeted to be a strategic service offering for hardware-enforced, highly secure and differentiated, Device and Data Loss Prevention Services through Remote Device Lock and Data Erase Operations. It uses state of the art cryptography, industry’s leading hardware and firmware technology, and modern and scalable cloud infrastructure. This engine can be leveraged in any situation which demands information protection (or computation) by fault-tolerantly distributing it amongst a cluster of cooperating trusted-entities.
Shefali’s creative and integrative style of thinking along with her understanding of how people interact and a design mindset, helps her conceptualize practical solutions. She is an active supporter of leveraging the hidden potential in women to achieve stable economic growth.
“I always did something that I didn’t feel completely ready for. I think that’s how you grow. When that ‘Wow’ moment comes, you are not sure if you can do it and yet you manage to transcend it, and you have a real breakthrough.”
Women engineers at the core are great leaders, trainers, and educators, who have vowed to break the glass ceiling, raising the bar for everyone around them. On that note, when it comes to women worth knowing in engineering at QuEST one name that we cannot simply ignore is that of Minia. When a renowned Naval forces was looking for a smart training system for their engineers, Minia and her team, that includes two talents women engineers, Maribel and Laura, came up with a brilliant course designed to meet the 360 requirements in production engineering in naval manufacturing. It covered right from the basics of naval construction to the most complicated parts of the Production Engineering departments involved and amazed the client who could then implement their future plans at their shipyards by applying these work methods.
Minia has carved a niche for herself in leading the training of the military representatives/engineers working in military and civil ships with her ample in-depth knowledge on production engineering in naval construction.
“Proactivity, teamwork and attention to small details can completely change the “whole task” and turn it into something to be proud of.”
A perfect example of a woman who sets the tone for the next generation of women, Alba pursued her dreams and took up challenges to innovate. Her contributions in the field of Medical Devices industry while working at QuEST is nothing short of awe-inspiring. She worked whole-heartedly on the development of robot accessories for Healthcare Automation. Working with a newly created Healthcare Robotics unit in Texas Medical Center (Huston, USA), in collaboration with ABB Service Robotics, she has been involved in designing robotic solutions for the automatization of laboratory analysis in Hospitals, by reproducing human hand operations such as unscrewing, clicking, and positioning to carry out essential activities. Offering 100% hygienic and more accurate operations, it dramatically increases the reliability of test results. These solutions offer 24×7 seamless operation and increase productivity and reduces time to get results while also navigating cost reduction through automatization and enabling reduction of clean room lab space required for this sensible operations.
As the world fights a pandemic called COVID-19, when it becomes highly important to provide highly safe laboratory environment, Alba’s efforts in creating this robotic solution comes to the fore as the demand of the day.who
“As more and more women enter the engineering stream, they garner respect and appreciation for their entire race.”
~ Athira Ambika
Athira has been working tirelessly to create a SEM system that can control the wafer inspection process in a semi-conductor equipment. SEM software is a middle layer application used for controlling & synchronizing the hardware controllers. When it was needed to re-architect the entire software to improve the maintainability, readability & deadlock, she realized that very large legacy code bases (developed since 1999) were still being used for multiple products and versions. This inspired her to work on changing the norms in quality inspection systems and to design a system to reduce cost, time and effort while bringing in reusability aspects. Athira and her team not only re-architected the entire 500K codebase comprising of complicated business logic and command routing, but she also helped engineer 5 million $ SEM machines doing inspection at the nanometer level.
Athira has been key in putting the right perspective in place in the domains she works in. Without getting lost in what has already been laid out to us for ages, she believes in finding a smarter solution. She feels now the industry has matured to accept more women engineers to join hands with their male counterparts and work towards a better and more cohesive tomorrow.
“Women are better at multitasking hence more versatile. Women in engineering bring diversity to the game that helps generate new, better and efficient ideas. This is why women are an eminent asset in the engineering domain. In those lines, one woman role model can inspire other women to grow & dream big.”
~ Suparna Das
Suparna works in Production Accounting segment in the Oil & Gas domain. This significant section involves volumes of oil, gas and water produced from the wells, inventory at facilities and distribution from the facility including revenue, division of ownership and royalties. Suparna skilfully works at a critical juncture where operational data is translated into financial bookings. She and her team calculate and analyze production data, calculate revenue and royalties associated with properties owned by oil companies, and ensure reporting requirements are met adhering to regulatory guidelines as per for different states. Under the leadership of Suparna the scope from one production unit increased to multiple assets, and she pioneered to implement the workflow across all assets.
Suparna believes that women in engineering have an advantage of standing out from the crowd, which is very beneficial while showcasing the talent and perspective one holds. For Suparna, every challenge brings an opportunity which should be taken positively. She is deeply appreciative of the women role models who help and encourage more fresh talent to choose engineering as a career and support them in persevering and succeeding in society.
“Being a woman in engineering has allowed me to live life with pride, get equal opportunities and respect in society.”
Neelima has years of experience in Engineering, Procurement and Construction and has been working on various activities responsible from design, procurement, construction, to commissioning and handing over of the project to the End-User or Owner. At present working for Market Analysis team, she had a humongous task at hand when she and her team had to go through 750 documents to extract the required data for the analysis process. This data was essential to generate Material factor curves and other financial estimation models and to create an annual Cost update report for publication by Global Project Company for Benchmarking of existing and future projects. She started working on collection of technical data for market analysis. She found a useful way to utilize the unused data, by making data cleansing techniques handy and creating structured templates to be used for converting into automation scripts. This process allowed good data visualization dashboards and automation scripts to do tasks quicker while eliminating human errors.
Soon to be used as part of machine learning, Neelima’s contribution helps automate cumbersome tasks into easy automated error-free processes. She is a true believer in the cause of engineering, solving critical problems with a calm mind that emanates creativity. She vouches for transparent communication style with well-structured strategy as true enablers of success as a woman engineer.
QuEST managed to beat the challenges found in the paradox of despaired visibility by shifting the core focus. By downplaying stereotypes and smartly ushering talent, QuEST has been able to provide a fertile, productive workplace to women across the engineering streams. Equality practices are instilled right from the hiring level to all the way up. At QuEST, we encourage an open and transparent environment since any disparity can only continue if a culture of secrecy is encouraged within a company. We pride ourselves of being a team of people driven with a passion for engineering as a winning organization.Such inspiring stories instill the faith in us that we are on the right course of action when our motive is to build a safer, greener and better world for the future.