"My training, my experience, the ability to resolve and the treatment that I bring to the client are comparable to those of a man. And those qualities are the ones that they really have value." This is how Iria Ponce, Siasa’s chief of staff, speaks of her status as a woman in a sector as masculine as the naval sector. He was involved in it for more than 12 years as head of prevention and quality, after studying Technical Engineering in Industrial Design at the University of A Coruña and, later, a Masters in Risk Prevention. Since 2011, she has been in the position of chief of staff, has been in contact with the client and coordinates and supervises the work of Siasa (execution, inspections, management of personnel and resources, etc.).
1. You occupy a position of command in a world of men. Does this make your job difficult?
Yes, I have felt the effects of working in an industry historically dominated by men. On many occasions I have been in meetings where I was the only woman. In the case of dealing with operators, it’s true that a certain prejudice is often denoted. But in dealing with managers, every day is less usual.
In the past, it has occurred to me that if I was accompanied by a male worker, the interlocutor avoided addressing me. Although when they became aware that I was in charge, they redirected their attention. But today, in the interlocutions with our clients, it’s not usual that I find difficulties because of my status as a woman.
2. Why did you decide to focus your career on this sector?
When she was young for proximity and family references had the had the opportunity to visit the naval factory where new shipbuilding works were carried out, and observe how this world worked from within. I liked what I saw and thought I could fit into that sector.
3.How do you remember your beginnings?
I remember the desire to learn and to contribute things to the company, to grow, to expand knowledge, to seek autonomy and to be resolutive. I started at the company covering the position of prevention coordinator, but soon, I began to assume more functions and gain knowledge and responsibilities, giving autonomy in some aspects, mainly at an administrative level, to our work. I have gone through different stages and changes and I feel fulfilled and valued by my company. And everything is thanks to being clothed and surrounded by my exceptional team.
4. This is still a sector with few female professionals. Why do you think women are still a minority?
The integration of women in these jobs depends more from the own company’s culture than the capabilities or tasks that woman can perform. With the pass of the years, I have seen the less increasing number of colleagues who defend their positions in other companies with which we agree on the projects. Although, on the other hand, many other women are relegated to administrative or service positions, because in our society persist the masculine leadership. So, I consider myself fortunate to be part from this company, that has promoting me, taking into account the real values that I bring.