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Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated annually on 8th March, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women all around the world. International women’s day has been celebrated for well over a century, with the first one starting in 1911.

This day is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, and share stories of inspiring women.

Maria Sarkar 

Vice President & Co-Founder, DriveWorks

Today, on International Women’s Day we’re taking a few moments to reflect on and celebrate women’s roles and achievements.

We’ve gathered comments from people we know and work with around the world and I’ve picked out a couple of my colleagues here at DriveWorks who go out of their way to be great role models.

As Vice President & Co-Founder of double Queen’s Award-winning software development company, DriveWorks Ltd., and probably the oldest member of our team I also bring the perspective of how much life has changed for women.

My grandmother left school at the age of 14. She had wanted to continue her education, but had no choice, her mother had died, and her father said she must go out to work.

As a child I liked staying at my grandparents’, the kitchen was always warm, and full of great smells! Gran put tasty food on the table, gave great hugs and kept the family united. I also distinctly recall her interest in current affairs. She kept up to date by reading the daily newspaper. She especially loved the business pages, she followed the stock market. She encouraged me to be inquisitive, to be a good student, interested in commerce and in her words to “give yourself choices”.

Taking advantage of access to education was also reinforced from conversations with my dad. He’d come to the UK after the war to study printing and graphic arts. He managed a photo-lithography business.

My mum worked in the business too and I used to go to “the works”, after school and at weekends. I swept floors, used an ancient adding machine to total up columns and columns of numbers, went out on deliveries and always kept an eye on the white job tickets and dockets that today I recognize as the precursors to today’s Jira and Trello boards.

Dad was very interested in automation and new technologies. I remember a huge machine, a computer costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, being craned into a purpose-designed air-conditioned suite at “the works”. Ironically, the functionality it offered, can now be achieved using affordable photo-editing software that can be used by anyone! Technology is awesome!

So, super determined to continue my education, I packed my bags at 18 and embarked on a degree in Modern Languages. My studies took me to a new city, and I even spent my third year living in another country. What an experience that was, especially when at that time there were far fewer places for women at university.

My course gave me communication skills and life experiences so that by the time I graduated I knew my grandmother would be pleased to know that I had given myself more choices.

And remembering how the new technology introduced by my dad at “the works” heralded a new era for my parents and their staff, I have been excited to talk about and promote the adoption of new technology, CAD, 3D, digital transformation.

It’s also great to see the ways in which women in manufacturing and engineering are creating a space to talk and celebrate other women in these industries. Hosted by Meaghan Ziemba, Mavens of Manufacturing is a live podcast that focuses on women in manufacturing and how they are changing the world.

As a business owner and leader, I can provide opportunities for others too. I encourage other women and young people to learn, to explore technology and apply knowledge so they have choices too.

Several members of our team give talks in schools, colleges and Universities.

We’ve given Bridie, in her role as a Technology Champion, dedicated time to work with our Local Enterprise Partnership and The Pledge, to promote careers in STEM.

Heather and Bridie are active worldwide in the SOLIDWORKS Community and are engaged hosts for DriveWorks Drivers and DriveWorks World.

Within the past year, I learnt that one of our Value-Added Resellers, Computer Aided Technology has put together a Women’s Impact Network (WIN) group, focusing on promoting women’s involvement not only in STEM, but in their community as a whole.

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to speak at the group’s next meeting.

I know I will also tell them about Heather who at 21 was a very young widow expecting a baby all alone. Food was her comfort and she was soon 250 pounds. She went on to raise her daughter, complete her own degree at 45, and is today President of her local running club.

She has kicked off a running group “RunWorks” inside DriveWorks and will be taking part in the Boston Marathon in a few weeks’ time. Now that’s inspiring! Good luck Heather!

Join us in celebrating just some of the inspirational women in our community and the empowering work they do for women everywhere

Tracy Wettig

Mid-Atlantic Technical Manager, TriMech

Christine Miska

CEMA Business Area Engineering Director, BAE Systems

Sharon Baylay

Non-Executive Director & Coach

Betty Baker

Domestic Casegoods Product Engineer, Ashley Furniture

Julie Stears

Chief Engineer – Engineering Quality, Jaguar Land Rover

Amee Meghani

Director of Engineering, South Region – GoEngineer

Nadia Shea

Technical Manager, Customer Support/Success/Experience, MLC CAD Systems

Sandrine Garriot

Director of Global Communication, Sales Enablement & Transformation – Dassault Systèmes