Register to comment and receive news in your inboxRegister or Log in

ABB nurtures female engineering excellence

  • ABB is committed to solving some of the biggest global challenges of our time
  • This is only possible through a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity as being critical to business success
  • It is all about teamwork, with the main focus being growing our business and brand together

In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on 23 June, ABB highlights two female engineers who continue to make a difference. 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.

Rinee Phillia Kharivhe

“Diversity and inclusivity in a workplace are essential. ABB encourages this by educating employees, developing initiatives to create an inclusive environment, and creating equal opportunity for everyone regardless of culture, gender, race, or religion. It is all about teamwork, with the main focus being growing our business and brand together,” says Technical Design and Promotion Specialist Rinee Phillia Kharivhe.

Rinee has a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Her journey with ABB began when awarded a scholarship along with two other female students. Rinee carried out the practical component of her studies in the medium voltage primary and secondary switchgear department. She then joined the graduate programme, working in the low voltage department in the electrification business in Cape town for two years, after which she assumed her current role.

Rinee’s responsibility is to outline and apply useful promotional activities for an allocated target audience such as consultants, engineers, and specifiers to create market demand for ABB’s products. This is achieved by building long term relationships and recognising and developing opportunities by presenting and educating the target audience about ABB’s products and tools.

Some of the challenges experienced in her role as a woman in a male dominated field is men doubting her abilities. “My work sometimes has to do with me being hands on, working with hand tools, and some of the duties require strength, which is where some men question if I can complete my tasks. I always get the work done,” says Rinee. “Anything a man can do, women can do even better; you can do and be anything, so do not limit yourself.”

Ziyanda Gova

Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) Specialist Ziyanda Gova has a BTech and NDip in Environmental Management and a Higher Certificate in Safety, Quality and Business Management. She is currently completing her BSc (Hons) in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling. Ziyanda is registered with the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) as a Professional Construction Health and Safety Officer (Pr. CHSO). She is also registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) as a Natural Scientist (Cand.Sci.Nat).

Ziyanda started out with ABB as a Graduate in Training for HSE support functions. Later she was assigned to a control and instrumentation project at Kusile power station in Mpumalanga. She has since worked in various projects around South Africa and is currently a HSE specialist at an Anglo American project for the installation and commissioning of UniGear ZS1 medium voltage switchgear. “It is very rewarding to see the finished product in full operations and to see the client happy,” she adds.

Challenges include long stints away from home when on project duty. Often her job is to correct and advise where there is an obstruction of HSE regulations. “Sometimes I have to stop the job when I realise an immediate risk. This is where the challenge comes in, as men are hesitant to take instruction from a woman, especially on project sites.”

However, Ziyanda points out that ABB does not assign roles based on gender profiles, but rather based on merit. “Whether you are a man or a woman, if you have the competency, knowledge, and skill, you will be assigned the role. This how ABB encourages diversity and inclusivity among all staff.” She concludes: “There are no limits on what you can achieve with your life. The only limits are the ones you set for yourself. Indeed, the engineering environment is tough, but so are you!”

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.