Engineering has traditionally been very male dominated, with the percentage of female engineers at universities and in the workplace substantially lower than what it should be. ABB has been working to diversify the engineering industry by creating opportunities for women.
In response to South Africa’s high unemployment rates and the lack of female engineers, ABB has a range of skills development initiatives in Southern Africa. These include ABB JDF scholarships, ABB learnerships, a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Zambia, P1/P2 engineering training, ABB Engineer in Training, and the ABB Learnership for Disabled Graduates.
ABB’s Diversity & Inclusion 2030 targets include 50% university hires, 25% women in ABB leadership (19% by 2025), well established policies, a yearly improvement of the inclusion score in the employees’ engagement survey, and 100% access to employee resource and affinity groups.
ABB is committed to solving some of the biggest global challenges of our time. This is only possible through its exceptional people who work every day towards this goal, based on a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity as being critical to business success. In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on 23 June, ABB highlights three individuals who are making a significant contribution to the success of the company in numerous ways.
Dipuo Harriet Masilo, Laser Engraving Machine Operator, ABB
As a Machine Operator, Dipuo designs, manufactures and prints labels for ABB switchgear units, which are used to supply power to various government-owned entities and privately owned mines. She works in the ELDS production factory along with the fabrication, assembly, wiring and testing departments. “They call me ‘The label specialist lady’ and I am very proud of our team,” says Dipuo.
“I am a woman with many hidden talents, like my passion for making things with accuracy, precision and quality.” Her interest using software was ignited while working as a Software Programmer for laser measuring units before joining ABB as a Laser Engraving Machine Operator. “The work that I am doing here is very challenging and needs a person with passion, understanding and who is highly efficient. I love my work,” says Dipuo.
“I have learnt a lot about understanding people’s behaviour and their different personalities, also to have patience with people and to be firm and precise in all my dealings with them.” She adds that the basic PM course she undertook at UCT taught her that managing a project teaches you to be more attentive, knowledgeable and organised, especially when it comes to achieving clear and meaningful objectives and outcomes.
“I have progressed from being a young, shy girl who started working at 17 right after college as a Software Programmer, a Production Supervisor after six years’ work experience, and now as a Machine Operator with a PM certificate and a proud mother of two talented boys,” says Dipuo.
Jane Tshabangu, Project Panning and Controls Specialist, ABB
Jane is responsible for overseeing all production orders manufactured in-house at ABB’s Longmeadow, Johannesburg manufacturing facility. Her role includes ensuring copper is available on a just-in-time basis for panel plating and releasing all jobs for picking and placing by the production team.
“What keeps me passionate and excited about what I do is that I am always focused, making sure that nothing holds up production as they rely on me to coordinate the workload,” says Jane, who focuses on teamwork, problem solving and communication as her core competencies.
Jane began her career at ABB in 2006 as an Expeditor, responsible for all outstanding purchase orders, following up on deliveries and liaising with the buyers. In 2009 she was promoted to a Planner and then in 2017 assumed her current position.
“I would like to see more women in high-level positions,” she adds. Jane’s message to young women contemplating a similar career path is simple: “Speak up in a way that is powerful and get to know your rights as a woman and fight for them!”
Dineo Maphaka, Production Development Specialist, ABB
Dineo works with the fabrication team in the electrification division. She compiles programs for the CNC punching machines while keeping a watchful eye on reducing the scrap rate. Her job is to ensure a smooth production process for all the components needed for switchgear assembly.
“Every project brings an opportunity for me to learn something new and work with different people. As our products do not always use standard components, this gives me an opportunity to expand my skills,” says Dineo. Her career highlights at ABB include progressing from a wire lady to her current role. She was also nominated for an internal award for achieving a significant reduction in the overall scrap rate.
Dineo has a Diploma in Electrical Engineering and a certificate in writing Computer Numerical Control (CNC) code for lathe machines. Prior to ABB she worked as a CNC operator, setter and programmer for both CNC lathe and milling machines. Her career journey at ABB began as a contractor and working as a wire lady until being appointed permanently in her current role in 2021. “It took many years and learning to be where I am right now. I have put in the hard work to ensure that I excel in any position I am in,” says Dineo.
Her advice to young women is to “be assertive, confident, and level-headed. Speak out if you do not understand anything at work. Let us be brave! There are a lot of opportunities for women today. It is all up to us to go out there and grab them.”
International Women in Engineering Day by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) celebrates its 10th year in 2023 promoting the amazing work of women engineers across the globe. INWED gives women engineers around the world a profile when they are still hugely under-represented. As the only platform of its kind, it plays a vital role in encouraging more young women and girls to take up engineering careers.
Electrifying the world in a safe, smart, and sustainable way, ABB Electrification is a global technology leader in electrical distribution and management from source to socket. As the world’s demand for electricity grows, our 50,000+ employees across 100 countries collaborate with customers and partners to transform how people connect, live and work. We develop innovative products, solutions and digital technologies that enable energy efficiency and a low carbon society across all sectors. By applying global scale with local expertise, we shape and support global trends, deliver excellence for customers and power a sustainable future for society. go.abb/electrification