Myanmar: She is breaking gender stereotypes, engineering change
"When you mention the word engineer, the local communities immediately think that a man will show up," says Mary Hkawn Tsin, an engineer with the ICRC's team in Kachin State.
Mary is part of the water and habitat team based in Myitkyina, Kachin State and all through her career, she's found that being a woman in engineering presents quite a few challenges, compared to other professions.
"I work on water supply projects for displaced communities living in camps, and most of my work is in remote areas. Sometimes I travel deep into the forests to check the potential water sources," says Mary.
On top of these challenges, she has also had to face concerns from the communities on whether she can do her job well because of the difficult conditions surrounding her line of work.
"My job is not easy. But for me, no matter how hard or tiring it is, I have never taken that as an obstacle but as a challenge that I strive to accomplish and overcome," says Mary.
Mary is one of the 23 women engineers working for the ICRC in Myanmar.
"I work with total confidence and make sure to give 100% and more. They eventually see the work and sincerity, and trust that I can carry out the tasks."
As a native of Kachin State, one of Mary's aspirations is to help in the development of her region. The plan to contribute back to her community has been the basis of everything she has done in her life. "And today, I am able to do that."
My job is not easy...no matter how hard or tiring it is, I have never taken that as an obstacle but as a challenge that I strive to accomplish and overcome
Mary is one of the 23 women engineers working for the ICRC in Myanmar. With a population of nearly 54 million in 2019, Myanmar statistically gives equal rights to men and women, with the latter comprising 51% of the population. In fact, a 2018 statistic reveals that 46% of engineering professionals in both government and private science sector are women.