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„Women power in power industry“ at ISINA in Chemnitz

Chemnitz. On 13th and 14th March 2017, the 4th interdisciplinary symposium for female engineers and natural scientists (ISINA [1]) took place at the Technical University of Chemnitz under the sponsorship of Prof. Olfa Kanoun (professorship of measurement and sensor technology) and the equal opportunities officer Dipl.-Päd. Karla Kebsch. Innovative ideas, the development of creativity and the challenge of new (research) paths are the focus of the professional exchange at this interdisciplinary symposium.

The conference was visited by a broad range of female engineers and scientists: national and international students, scientific assistants, professors and women from industry. Along the talks and seminars of the meeting, there were many fruitful discussions and network opportunities among the participants, as they came from different working fields and different working levels.

On the initiative of Prof. Olfa Kanoun, Ana Cigarán Romero and Myriam Koch participated as representatives of the IEEE Women In Engineering (WIE) Germany section at this year's ISINA and actively contributed to the program with their presentation "Women power in power industry". Ana is an engineer working with one of the four German transmission system operators, Myriam is a scientist working with a German component manufacturer. One of the main questions they have to face while telling others about their profession is the question about how to deal with the fact of working in a male dominated environment. This is especially true for the power engineering sector. Thus, the first part of their presentation addressed exactly this question. The audience, mainly students and scientific assistants, was very interested in the reporting on the conditions in industry, what enabled a vivid discussion. The most interesting conclusion was that this very low number of women engineers seems to be a special phenomenon for Germany, as the situation is different in other European countries such as France, Italy or Spain, where the number of female engineers is significantly higher: all participants coming from abroad reported that, in their country, it is quite normal that girls seek for an engineering profession.

In the second half of their presentation, Ana and Myriam gave a short overview about the structure of the German transmission and distribution grid and presented the needs and goals of the grid of the next generation, incorporating a large amount of renewable energy sources. This led again to an animated discussion with the audience as it is a subject of public interest but where only little basic information is available in the media.

The ISINA conference has a very successful format, combining presentations, seminars, and discussions on one-to-one level. It was an event to get new impressions, new inspirations and new contacts in a very nice environment. So maybe see you next year on ISINA in Chemnitz!