International Women's Day With Anna Harley

As part of international Women’s Day we are celebrating Women in STEM and the challenges they face within their careers. 

After graduating with a first, Anna was offered a place on a PhD focusing on Metal Additive Manufacturing. Anna has travelled to many places as part of her PhD and is also a member of the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (NWCAM) research group at CatalystAnna is currently finishing up her PhD and is excited for her career as an engineer. 

What challenges have you faced as a female within your industry? 

There are certainly challenges for women when entering a male dominated field. Women are still a minority and do stand out. Personally, it doesn’t intimidate me. If anything, I find it pushes me to succeed even more. I would say that the positions I have worked in to date, 99% of my colleagues have been incredibly supportive, kind and helpful. Of course, regardless of gender and what sector you work in, someone will always have something negative to say. What I would say is, everyone has their own opinion and right to express that opinion and that is fine. You cannot be liked by everyone and as a young female you are better to become comfortable with that thought and more confident in yourself!

Who is your female role-model and why?

My Mother, she is truly incredible. There aren’t many ladies who rear eight children and attain three degrees simultaneously. Each of us were always encouraged to be the best versions of ourselves. There were always incredibly high expectations for us to do well and excel the norm; I mean that in the most loving way possible. My Mother never stops learning, be it a new craft, hobby or figuring out what course she wants to take up next. Her project management skills amaze me; she has at least 5 projects ongoing at any one time. Her thirst and drive for continual learning, wonder and curiosity is something I hope to still have in 30 years. She really does inspire me!

What advice would you give to the younger female generation and what can they do to make a difference?

Grab every opportunity that comes your way. Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. Don’t stay on autopilot – if you are struggling to find opportunities then create them, be proactive and have a strategy. Look for possibilities and don’t focus on limitations, think outside of the box, never narrow your perspective. Take control of your life; be selective with things and people. Feed your intellect, stimulate your imagination, and continue to grow. 

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