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I am Woman, I am an Engineer

This month of March, the world celebrates International Women’s Month — a commemoration of women’s achievements and contributions, and most importantly, a recognition of the struggles faced by women due to societal pressure and standards. 

Being a company composed mostly of males, Visayan Electric turns the spotlight to two of its female engineers who challenge stereotypes and excel in what is traditionally considered a male-dominated field.

Meet Dianne

Engineer Dianne Obidas, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, works as a Meter Shop Specialist at Visayan Electric. An outdoor enthusiast who hails from the City of Naga, Dianne’s job primarily entails making sure that all electrical meters released by the company are within standards. 

WOMEN CAN, TOO. Engr. Dianne inspects  electrical meters, making sure they adhere to Visayan Electric  Standards before getting dispatched to customers.

Initially daunted by her status as the youngest and sole female in her department upon joining Visayan Electric in July 2022, she candidly admits to feeling apprehensive amidst the age gap. 

“Pagstart nkos PMD pag July 2022, ako ray babaye sa department. Pag first, scared and intimidated kay there's an age difference,” Dianne said. 

She also added that one of her primary struggles being the only female in her department was that she had no one to talk to, especially when it comes to topics that only females like her could relate to. 

“Kadtong ako pa ang only female, wala ko’y ma storya storyahan, unya wala kaayo’y duol sa akong edad sa department.”

However, through time, Dianne seamlessly integrated with her team, finding common ground and mutual respect among her colleagues. 

“As time went by, na overcome ra. Dili lisod ika-jam ang taga Power Metering Department (PMD) kay ang mga legends musabay ra sab namo,” she added. 

Although it might seem intimidating and harrowing to be in Dianne’s shoes when she started at Visayan Electric, she has never felt disadvantaged nor discriminated against. 

“It was never a disadvantage but rather empowering nga what men do, women can, too.”

Inspired by the resilience of Disney's Mulan, Dianne embodies strength and determination, advocating for gender-neutral opportunities in the workplace. Her journey exemplifies the notion that barriers can be overcome with courage and perseverance.

“Mulan is a character I Iook up to. Regardless of gender, if you have the capability to do the task or even go to war, nganong di man pwede, diba?” 

Now, let’s meet Ching

Unlike Dianne, Engineer Archie May Lerio, or Ching to her colleagues, is not new to being surrounded by men. Raised among five brothers, Ching found familiarity and comfort in this dynamic, seamlessly integrating into her role within Visayan Electric's Distribution Services Department (DSD). 

EQUALS. Engr. Ching participates in Visayan Electric’s Basic Lineman’s Training along with other linemen and engineers.

“Actually being the only female in a group is not new to me since I grew up with five brothers and, in my classes in college, I was the only one wearing skirts. My teammates in the DSD are very supportive and I never felt left out,” she said. 

Ching provides technical assistance to her department, addressing issues and concerns regarding line construction and maintenance. For her, working at Visayan Electric is a realization of a lifelong dream, a sentiment echoed by many aspiring electrical engineers in Cebu.

“I chose to work in Visayan Electric because it’s every electrical engineering student's dream company, especially if you live in Cebu,” she said.

Although being surrounded by men on a daily basis, Ching never once felt discriminated against in her workplace. She is grateful that Visayan Electric does not discriminate when it comes to assigning tasks. She has been able to work both inside the office and on the field. The only struggle she experiences, she said, is where to pee during field work, which all women definitely can relate to. 

“All of them are supportive and they don't hesitate to share and help… I was given equal opportunities with all my male teammates,” she shared.

Ching's unwavering resolve stems from her belief in the irrelevance of gender distinctions in professional settings. As an engineer, Ching asserts her identity based on competence and skill, transcending gender stereotypes with every accomplishment.

“If you want it, take it. Show up as you are! We bring something to the table. Don’t think you are a female engineer, you’re an Engineer.”

In celebration of International Women’s Month, Dianne and Ching's stories serve as inspiring testaments to the contributions of women in traditionally male-dominated industries, underscoring the importance of inclusivity and equal opportunity for all.


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