Honoring International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Gouthrekka Mahalingam
On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we recognise the incredible achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) around the world and within our own company. One woman we would like to acknowledge is engineering manager Gouthrekka Mahalingam.
Gouthrekka is a chartered engineer with more than 15 years’ experience working in the defence domain. She joined Leidos after working as an engineering program manager and design authority with the Australian Navy. Some of Gouthrekka’s most notable industry achievements include the creation of the Land Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter OCD and FPS, achieving chartered engineering status along with being sustainment design authority in the Simulation Program at the Joint Collective Training Branch.
From an early age, Gouthrekka was fascinated with STEM subjects and was pushed by her teachers to work hard and excel in these subjects. After graduating high school, Gouthrekka pursued a degree in mechanical engineering and commerce and a master's of engineering.
Although Gouthrekka loves the work she does, her journey in STEM hasn’t always been an easy one. Throughout her career, Gouthrekka has had her opinion and technical advice disregarded or questioned because of her gender. In most cases, escalating the issue and presenting details and facts on her proposed technical approach has ensured that it was properly evaluated. In her experience due diligence and high technical competence always conquers cynicism.
To help with gender diversity in STEM in workplaces, Gouthrekka recommends establishing women’s alliance networks, STEM focused conferences within organisations, and promoting women of technical credence to senior technical leadership roles. Days of recognition like International Day of Women and Girls in Science are a great opportunity to recognise women’s achievements in STEM.
Gouthrekka’s advice to young girls interested in pursuing a career in STEM is to have a strong conviction in your ability—there will be numerous times that you will have the most knowledge and expertise in an area and you owe it to yourself to showcase that to the best of your ability and to rise above any adversity you face while achieving that.
Virtus tentamine gaudet - strength rejoices in the challenge.