Keep challenging the norm, Lancashire women urged
A leading Preston councillor has urged women to keeping "challenging the norm."
Coun Nweeda Khan, Cabinet member for communities and social justice on Preston City Council, had this message on International Women's Day.
She said: “International Women’s Day is where we celebrate women around the world who continue to make a positive impact in their community, as well as the countless women in history who played a crucial role in bringing positive social change.
“This year the theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and today there are many women who choose to challenge the norm in Preston, helping make our city what it is today.
“That work includes organising foodbanks, hosting events with female speakers and running organisations helping other women, and I’m proud to work alongside them every day.
"Women in Preston have taken the initiative in these leadership roles to raise significant issues and concerns, and continue to be a voice not only for women but also for their communities.”
One of the women "challenging the norm" is Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee, a Senior Flight Systems Engineer at BAE Systems at Warton.
Krystina's current role in the Air sector sees her working on Tempest – the project aiming to develop and deliver of a UK-led Future Combat Air System - where she works on developing new technologies for flight critical systems.
At school Krystina always enjoyed maths, physics and creative subjects, but it was a trip to an air show with her family that really sparked her interest in aerospace engineering as a career.
When she was at university studying for a Master’s degree in Aerospace Systems Engineering, Krystina noticed she was one of only two women on her course. This experience and becoming a mother encouraged her to become a STEM ambassador and seek to inspire more women into engineering.
Krystina said: "I want to be a role model and help encourage other young women into the engineering industry.
"One of the main challenges is changing the misconceptions that exist around engineering. Anyone can be an engineer yet too many women still think that it’s a world they just don’t belong in.
"I started my pin badge business AviateHer because when I tell someone that I'm an engineer, I'm told that I don't look like an engineer.
"I want to use the badges to highlight diversity in STEM and challenge stereotypes of what people in STEM look like.
"Role models are so important for the next generation to see who they could be."
Since setting up the business, Krystina has raised over £1,000 for charities that are working towards improving diversity in STEM. She has also expanded into other professions in STEM and now ships her badges worldwide.
Krystina is also keen to encourage young people to consider all of the career options they could follow.
Krystina said: "It's really important for young people to evaluate all of the options available to them, whether that's higher education or an apprenticeship.
"There's so much variety in a STEM career. It is hard work but it's just as rewarding.
"The advice that I would give to other women wanting to pursue a career in engineering is don't be afraid to put yourself out there and shout about your achievements. The more visible you are, the more opportunities will come your way."
In support of International Women's Day, Krystina has pledged to continue to smash stereotypes.
Krystina said: "I will help to bring about a gender equal world by being an advocate for women, amplifying women's voices, celebrating the achievements of women and recognise those that are smashing barriers to bring about equality for all."