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INWED 2018

In 2018, the second International Women in Engineering Day was celebrated by displaying photo stories of Nepali women engineers.  H.E.  MS. Mashfee Binte Shams, the Bangladesh Ambassador to Nepal, who is also an architect, was the chief guest  and Ms Shanti Malla, the first Nepali woman engineer was the guest of honour at the event. The event captured stories of Nepali female engineers,  the challenges they faced, the solutions to the problems they confronted fearlessly and the encouraging examples that women can also succeed in the engineer field. The event was organised at the Nepal Engineers’ Association's premises.

INWED Highlights

Highlighting stories of a few influential women in engineering field in Nepal

“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.”

Shanti Malla

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.​


“Everyone feels nervous when they first start, men are no different to women on this.”

Kirsteen Merrilees

Civil Engineer, Team Leader Mugu Humla Link Road Project

Being a part of the Heathrow Express platform tunnels at Terminal 4, I love going through there and pointing out the marks on the tunnel wall from the shuttle window. Later, working in Vietnam on rural community managed infrastructure and then the Rural Access Programme in Nepal, specifically in Mugu and Humla, my professional journey has been very rewarding.​

One of the challenges that I faced during my professional practice was Shift work while working in the tunnel - a cycle of 12-hour shifts. I took my time, watched carefully and learned how best to do things, behaved humbly with the work men, who in time took me under their wing and taught me all the practical things you need to know but can't learn from books or bosses.​

You are as good as everyone else. Don't be afraid to express your views, contribute to discussions and make suggestions on how things might be done differently. You need to believe in yourself, and assume others will treat you well, for them to do so.