Jun 24, 2020

Today is International Women in Engineering Day. For many years, Civil Engineering had more men than women at work, but this changed. At Carioca Engenharia, we have participated in this change over more than 70 years. We are proud to have extraordinary female professionals on our team. We have chosen four female civil engineers from Carioca to tell us a little about their story and represent our diversity of voices.

Viviane Fernandes joined us as an intern, and our history together has more than 21 years of lovely memories. She remembers that in engineering school, she was the only structural calculus student in her class. “In 1996, I remember that having a voice was quite hard. A woman doing structural calculus was unimaginable. When I joined Carioca, I was happy to always see many women here,” she says. She graduated and participated in some major construction works, such as the duplication of Avenida das Américas, the CSA Port Terminal and Line 10 of CPTM railroad in São Paulo, the first project in which she was the only contract manager. Today, she is in charge of the Budget and QHSE teams at Carioca. She says that engineering has helped her prioritize things and develop an assertive mental model.

This practical side of the profession also hooked Paula Carvalho, who has been with us since 2008. She also joined Carioca as an intern and fell in love with the budget department. She has participated in the Jurong Shipyard and Via Uhos projects. As the first engineer in her family, she graduated with only two other women out of 15 students, but at Carioca she found more female colleagues, in addition to a welcoming workplace. “The main thing at Carioca is the work atmosphere. People are generous. I learned a lot from all my managers and peers. It is a very good place to work and to learn. People share a lot in this company.”

Renata Gonçalves came from a family of engineers and, like Paula, she found out early on that she wanted to study civil engineering. She experienced this construction reality up close, alongside her father, and joined our team as an intern student 20 years ago. She recalls the projects that marked her career. “At Santos Dumont Airport, I did many different tasks, from the design, through budget to delivery. I was about to graduate, and there I saw that I was on the right path,” says Renata, who also participated in Via Uhos and in the Fundação Getúlio Vargas building project as Engineering Manager. She says that being a woman is still a big challenge in this area. “It is an environment with many men, but the situation now is way better. At school, there were few women in my class. At Carioca, there have always been many women working, and today, in construction, we see female work safety engineers, female welders. For example, men’s and women’s restrooms have been a common thing for a long time now.”

Naira Gonçalves wanted to be a mathematics teacher, but a course on building techniques paved the way for her career in civil engineering. She joined Carioca as a technician ten years ago and has been in the construction teams of Metrô do Rio 1A, Vila Olímpica Militar and Bio Manguinhos. Last year she took a civil engineering degree and is now serving in the QHSE team. She says that she loves working at Carioca because of the organizational climate. “There is no company like Carioca. I have worked in other construction companies and this is the company’s greatest distinctive feature. I really like this family environment that Carioca has. And the recognition of our work is very gratifying.” She says that engineering is enchanting, and she loves to see a piece of paper become a project, but the profession also brought some other knowledge. “I learned a lot about dealing with people, and I still learn a lot about it from my manager.” About being a woman in this profession, where she ran many construction projects, she states, “We need to debunk the myth that women are ‘not good’ for civil construction.”

A woman’s place is wherever she wants, and we subscribe to that.