Taking Opportunities, Shaping the Future

Women Engineers Forum 2017


Report of Women Engineers Forum (WEF 2017)

Taking Opportunities, Shaping the Future’, was the theme of ‘Women Engineers Forum 2017’ held on 6th July 2017, in Weihai, Shandong, China. The event was jointly organized by the CSEE (Chinese Society of Electrical Engineering) and the CNC-CIGRE (Chinese National Committee of CIGRE and supported by CWAST (China Women’s Association for Science and Technology). There were about 120 participants from power utilities, manufacturers and universities. Most of them were young females.

The WEF2017 was divided into three stages:

  • ­Opening address
  • ­Keynote speech
  • Dialogue

Opening Address

Dr. Ruomei
The chair and the moderator of WEF2017,Co-Chair of CIGRE Taskforce of the CIGRE Women in Engineering Forum,Dr. Ruomei Li, made a brief introduction and opened the forum.
WEF 2017 - Mr. Mingliang Xie
Mr.Mingliang Xie, Vice President and Secretary General of CSEE, Secretary of CNC gave a speech, emphasizing CSEE & CNC’s continuous support to female engineer activities. He expected that through this platform, by sharing and exchanging experiences and viewpoints, the participants could broaden their horizons and promote their capabilities, to inspire themselves to move forward in the days to come to approach their dreams.
Ms. Ping Xu
Ms. Ping Xu,The Secretary General of CWAST, pointed out that the important trend of the modern world is the role of women is getting more highlighted. Currently in China, females take up about 40% of the human resources in scientific and technical fields. Most women, in a certain age period, would face the challenge of their career’s dropping down, due to births of children and family reasons. CWAST called for the focus and joint effort from all parties, to help female professionals to go through the “bottleneck stage”, to achieve both successful careers and happy families.
WEF 2017 - Ms. Rachel Mahon
Ms.Rachel Mahon, from CIGRE Central office, introduced the CIGRE organization and its female members’ status and activities and demonstrated how CIGRE and ‘CIGRE women in Engineering’ are helpful. ‘CIGRE women in Engineering’ encourages female scientists and women in Engineering to build their self-confidence by investing in, then recognizing, their own value which helps them seize opportunities and establish higher development goals, aiming higher to be a valuable person to the community. CIGRE can help through networking and mentoring support. She emphasized how mutual support was important and that giving opportunities to shape the future was as important as taking them.

Keynote Speeches

Four female keynote speakers made presentations, sharing their views on women’s career development based on their own life experiences:


Ms. Khayakazi Dioka,Corporate specialist on transformers and reactors, Eskom, South Africa. Khayakazi reviewed her growing path, sharing her experiences as a successful young female engineer:

  • ­Know what is available in line with your interests. You need to spend energy on what is relevant. Build necessary skills;
  • ­Get a mentor/coach;
  • ­Get involved with important activities: conferences, engineering bodies, research work, etc.;
  • ­See challenges as opportunities.

She ended by saying: “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity”.

Dr. Yaping Li

Dr. Yaping Li,General Manager of Xuchang Kaipu Detection Technology Co.Ltd., first female chair in an IEC standard committee in its history. Dr. Yaping LI Gave her advice to the young female audience:

  • To be brave to face the challenges and changes. To improve yourself and make a breakthrough in the new environment. Do not be afraid of change. Every success is inseparable with change;
  • Balancing between work and family: Your successful career life can also serve as a role model to your children.
Prof. Shouzhen Zhu

Prof Shouzhen Zhu, Professor of Tsinghua University, a popular teacher in Tsinghua university for 40 years, summarized her life philosophy:

  • ­   The key to success is to believe in your own capability;
  • ­   To have the courage to accept adversity which will increase your strength;
  • ­   Only by constantly looking for chances can you timely grasp the opportunity;
  • ­   Your direction is more important than your current position.
Prof. Qing Chen

Prof Qing Chen, Professor of Shandong University, expressed her opinions on the relationship between career and family, which is always the most difficult choice for female professionals. Her points were:

  • ­   Making excellence a habit;
  • ­   Women should have their own career, to increase their personal value and gain dignity;
  • ­   It is important for women’s economic independence, for supporting the family with capability and also reducing the pressure of males.

Dialogue with Technical Leaders

Topic: “Career Opportunities for Women in Engineering”

WEF 2017 - Technical leaders
WEF 2017 - Technical leaders 2
WEF 2017 - Prof. Xiaoxin Zhou
WEF 2017 - Prof. Ching Chuen CHAN
WEF 2017 - Prof. Akihiko Yokoyama

Prof. Xiaoxin Zhou

Honorary President of the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI), Academician of Chinese academy of sciences.

Prof. Ching Chuen CHAN

Former president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering.Academician, Imperial Academy of Engineering, UK.

Prof. Akihiko Yokoyama

President of The Institute of Electrical Engineers in Japan (IEEJ), professor of Tokyo University.

1. My job has changed from technical work to management, how can I continue to advance myself? What is your suggestion?

Prof. Xiaoxin Zhou: No matter what kind of current job, you always can do the things better. The key is to think more broadly and cultivate your interests. When you find the patterns, even make a small achievement, you become more motivated for further progress.

2. What is an innovative type of person?

Prof.Ching Chuen CHAN: Innovative talents have four characteristics, 1) A solid foundation; 2) Keen observation; 3) A strong ability in analysis; 4) Courage.

3. What is the path to the success?

Prof. Ching Chuen CHAN: Success is mainly the outbreak of one’s potential. Everyone could be both fire and gold. To inspire your own potential, do the thing that you like, do not be afraid of setbacks and failures, know gratitude. A person's success depends on their talent, diligence and opportunity. For example, taking part in this forum could increase your opportunities. Elements of success:

  • Goals, in Short-term, medium-term and long-term;
  • Courage, to face any types of challenge;
  • Methods, Working, Learning, Physical health, Making friends;
  • Conditions.

The path to success is: goals, courage, methods and conditions.

4. What is the difference between engineering and science?

Prof. Ching Chuen CHAN: Science is discovery, to find out the laws of nature. Engineering is to combine science, technology and management, to make things happen. Scientists are to answer ‘why’, while engineers are to solve ‘how’. Scientists can work individually while engineering must always be team work. Scientists tend to pursue ‘first’, while the focus of engineering is not the ‘first’ but the ‘best’.

5. Now the intellectualization has developed fast, what do you think the future is of our power grid?

Prof. Akihiko Yokoyama: The technologies of artificial intelligence, big data and internet, will be more and more involved in the power system and other technical fields. We have to take advantage of these new technologies, especially the IT technology, in developing green energy for the growth of our society

6. In China, there is a 5% phenomenon: Females make up around 50% of students in universities. While for Master Degrees, the share of females drops to 40%. Until the top level, either in management or academics, only 5% of women remain. Why is this so? And how can this situation be changed?

Prof. Xiaoxin Zhou: Our traditional culture might be one reason. In China, A woman in her 20s or 30s, if not setting up family, would have pressure from her parents and society, especially those who continue to pursue higher degrees or further research work. I think that the government can make a special policy, for the smooth transition of females in this special period, allowing talented females to have the opportunities to ascend to higher levels

7. In the new era of change, for the female scientific and technical workers, how to seize the opportunities?

Prof.Xiaoxin Zhou: Now we are in the era of great technology revolution. Artificial intelligence will change the whole of society, including our power system. I believe that in the coming 5 to 10 years, power grid will have revolutionary changes.To adapt to the future, we need to study intelligence. Females tend to be good in IT technology such as software development and editing. A new intelligent era would therefore provide more opportunities for women.

WEF 2017 - Questioner 1

Female entrepreneur questioner

WEF 2017 - Questioner 2

Young engineer questioner

WEF 2017 - Questioner 3

Young manager questioner

Women Engineer Forum 2017

The meeting was closed at 5pm (The duration of the event was from 2~5pm).