Published on 06-Mar-2024

Challenges Faced by Women in NDT and How to Overcome Them

Challenges Faced by Women in NDT and How to Overcome Them

Table of Content

The field of NDT stands as a cornerstone in ensuring the structural integrity and safety of diverse infrastructures. However, behind this crucial role lies a landscape laden with challenges for women professionals. Despite the indispensable nature of their contributions, women in NDT face a myriad of hurdles, ranging from physical obstacles to deep-rooted societal pressures and gender biases. Throughout history, women who have pursued Careers in NDT have often done so at significant personal expense. Their journeys have been marked by resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

Yet, their struggles should not define the future of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Instead, it is imperative to acknowledge and address the barriers that impede gender equality in NDT, ensuring that women can thrive without sacrificing their well-being or professional aspirations. By advocating for equity and empowerment, we endeavour to shape a future where the successes of women in STEM are not overshadowed by the sacrifices they have had to make along the way.

Physical Challenges

Women in the NDE field encounter various physical challenges that can hinder their effectiveness and comfort during NDT inspections. These challenges include:

1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Fit:

The ill-fitting nature of PPE designed predominantly for male bodies poses a significant obstacle for women in NDT careers. Tight or loose-fitting equipment compromises both safety and comfort during NDT Inspections, potentially impacting the accuracy of results and increasing the risk of injury. Ill-fitting PPE can lead to discomfort, restricted movement, and decreased agility during NDT Inspections.

Women may struggle to find PPE options that accommodate their body shapes and sizes, leading to feelings of frustration and alienation in the workplace. Beyond PPE fit, safety equipment such as harnesses and harness straps may not be designed with women's bodies in mind, leading to discomfort and reduced safety during elevated NDT Inspections.

2. Worksite Facilities:

Inadequate restroom facilities and changing areas exacerbate the challenges faced by women in NDT careers. The lack of suitable facilities makes it particularly challenging for women to manage personal hygiene needs, especially during menstruation, while working on-site.

  • Limited access to clean and private restroom facilities can compromise women's comfort and dignity during work hours.
  • Inadequate changing areas make it difficult for women to transition between personal and professional attire, further adding to their discomfort and inconvenience.

3. Physically Demanding Tasks:

Certain NDT tasks require significant physical strength and endurance, posing additional challenges for women, especially during pregnancy or postpartum periods. These physically demanding tasks can strain women's bodies and increase the risk of fatigue and injury.

  • Heavy lifting, prolonged standing, and repetitive motions are common in NDT inspections, placing strain on women's musculoskeletal systems.
  • Pregnancy-related physical changes may limit women's ability to perform certain tasks safely and comfortably, requiring adjustments to work duties and schedules.
  • Some NDT Equipment may be designed with controls or interfaces that are challenging for women to operate comfortably, particularly for those with smaller hands or less upper body strength.
  • Enhancing equipment accessibility through ergonomic design modifications or alternative control mechanisms can improve usability and efficiency for women technicians, facilitating more accurate and reliable inspections.

Despite these challenges, women in the NDT industry demonstrate resilience and determination in overcoming obstacles to pursue rewarding careers in non-destructive evaluation.

By advocating for inclusive workplace practices, addressing physical barriers, and providing tailored support and resources, the industry can create a more equitable and supportive environment for women to thrive and advance in their NDT careers.

Motherhood and Career

Achieving a harmonious balance between motherhood and a career in NDT poses significant challenges for women NDT Professionals.

Key aspects of this struggle include:

Work-Life Balance:

Women in NDT careers often wrestle with the daunting task of reconciling the demands of motherhood with the unpredictable work hours and extensive travel requirements inherent in the profession.

  • Irregular work schedules and frequent travel can disrupt family routines and make it difficult for women to allocate sufficient time and energy to both their professional and personal responsibilities.
  • Striking a balance between career aspirations and family commitments requires careful planning, support, and flexibility from both employers and family members.