ISG project engineer highlights gender disparity in construction

10 July 2017

Zahra Ghaffari - ISG

Misconceptions about construction is causing female engineers to move away from the industry, according to an ISG assistant project engineer.

Zahra Ghaffari was being interviewed for a special feature in Building magazine for International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June 2017.

In the article, Zahra said it was essential to combat stereotypes surrounding the life of an engineer.

“There is a widespread assumption that I work on a building site all day. This is simply not true,” she said.

“Much of my time is spent in an office reviewing structural related drawings or liaising with sub-contractors and dealing with their technical queries.”

Zahra said she sees many women who study engineering decide not to continue their careers because of society pressures, misconceptions about the industry and its appropriateness for women.

“Companies must therefore be proactive and adopt a more transparent approach to communicate the varied nature of the role,” she said.

Zahra also believes that schools should do more to inspire young girls to become engineers.

Zahra had a passion for maths and physics at school and she completed a BSc in Civil Engineering in Iran.

She joined ISG’s graduate programme in August 2014 and, just a year into the programme, she won the National Outstanding Achievement Award for Construction.

“I am fortunate that my workplace is an inclusive and increasingly diverse environment,” Zahra said.

“We’ve taken proactive steps to encourage more women to explore careers in construction and recently signed the Young Women’s Trust pledge to improve apprenticeships for women interested in pursuing a hands-on role in the industry.”

Follow the link to read the full article, International Women in Engineering Day: Why engineering?, which can be found on Please note the article may only be available for registered users.