The founder of Femgineer, Poornima Vijayashanker, spoke at Inspirefest 2016 about how women should strive to be the token woman in the boardroom, and not shy away from having their voice heard.

Poornima Vijayashanker spoke as part of the Building Authentic Networks and Relationships keynotes at Inspirefest 2016. She described how she overcame significant artificial gender boundaries to make it as a successful engineer in the modern workplace.

As a rising entrepreneur, she went on to set up, but now spends her time trying to encourage other women to move into engineering, which has some of the lowest percentages of women working within the sector.

Taking the example of the UK, a survey by the Women’s Engineering Society found this year that just 9pc of the country’s engineering workforce was women.

During her talk in June, Vijayashanker highlighted how in male-dominated industries, a common argument put forward by some men in senior positions is that they do not want to give someone a speaking position just because she is a woman.

“The truth is that even those small moments of speaking up in a meeting, internal event or conference are going to make a difference,” she said.

“I don’t want to be known for having lived in an era where the female voice was stagnant … so to all of you out there, be the token, and be proud of it.”

Words by Colm Gorey

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book now to get your Early Bird tickets.