“If you go to India to study and fail, you will taint Nepal’s name, Shanti Malla was warned”
“If I am qualified, I’ll work without any hesitation. If there is bias, I will fight and keep fighting on. We all need to make an impact to humanity, and start early on, Shanti assures.”
The first female engineer of Nepal
Everyone, especially men, thought that women couldn’t do science and mathematics. Although she had aspired to be a doctor, engineering fulfilled her love of science, mathematics and the opportunity to work outdoors. “I just loved working on site. But they didn’t want to send me out of the district. Men don’t like taking orders from women.”
Shanti came from a family of educated men and women. She wanted to pursue engineering to do something important, and to prove that women, too, can do anything if they put their heart into it. From being a shy girl and the only girl in entire college, Shanti gradually learnt to speak out, to make friends and to be what she wanted to be- an engineer.
When asked if the study was hard in India, she says, “I went there to study math and science. I didn’t see beyond that. I didn’t need to.” After graduating in civil engineering in 1966, she joined Department of Housing. She served the government for 36 years before retiring in 2003.
“I was also the first woman to ride a motorbike,” Shanti shares. She continues to impart her wisdom, share her experiences and inspire young girls and boys in a school she founded in 1996. At the age of 74, Shanti is as determined as she probably was when she first started out as a civil engineer.