|A group photo of some members of the innovation work station for outstanding women [wedz.com.cn]|
Female researchers account for 25 percent of the members of the scientific research teams of the China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance & Design Institute Co, Ltd (BRDI). No matter whether the projects are domestic or overseas, or require scientific research or important software development, they have women in almost all important positions.
Xu Keying, Chief Engineer of the BRDI and recipient of the National May 1 Labor Medal, said that female engineers were involved in most of the design work of the newly-built bridges spanning the Yangtze River in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province.
She herself took part in the preliminary design of the Yangsigang Bridge a few years ago. Her team, five members of which were female, was responsible for the design of the steel structure.
The BRDI is the earliest professional bridge survey and design group in China. Since its establishment in 1950, it has designed more than 1,000 roads, railways and bridges in China and over 10 countries and regions, and it is responsible for most of the bridge designs in the world.
Nearly 80 percent of bridges above the Yangtze River were designed by the institute. Additionally, more than 40 cross-sea bridges, including the Hangzhou Bay Bridge and more than 40 bridges above the Yellow River were designed by the institute.
Generally, male employees take the dominant positions in building projects, but in the BRDI, women are a leading strength in scientific research. At present, female researchers account for 25 percent of the members of the institute's scientific and research teams.
Thanks to their participation in project construction, many mega projects are engraved with their names. To better gather outstanding women and publicize their leading role, the institute set up the "innovation work station for outstanding women" for the female scientific staff.
Pi Hanping, head of the Overseas Business Department and the work station, is responsible for expanding business in overseas markets. She is used to traveling globally among the construction sites.
In 2010, Xu Keying was in charge of the bidding for the upper structure of the DB02 section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
"It was the first time I participated in bidding as well as the first time I was the professional person in charge. It was also my first time to learn about foreign standards, which made me feel tremendous pressure," said Xu.
During the bidding period, Xu lived in the institute and worked hard day and night with her team members. Finally, she led her team to complete the task successfully in limited time.
The BRDI is a rare design institute in China equipped with many design software programs with independent intellectual property right, to which female engineers made remarkable contributions.
The nonlinear analysis software SNAS is China's first independently developed software for suspension bridge analysis; it can greatly strengthen the design capacity for long-span bridge structures. The software was developed by a team led by Chen Jia, a member of the work station.
Liu Yunxin, deputy head of the work station, plays the leading role in developing the system software SCDS for bridge structure design. It is excellent graphic design software used in more than 90 percent of the institute's bridge designs, and is fundamental in the improvement of the institute's core competitiveness.
The Shanghai-Nantong Yangtze River Bridge is the longest span cable-stayed bridge in the world for highways and railways. In 2013, Hou Jian, the deputy head of the work station, was in charge of the steel structure of the bridge, which was a challenge for her. In order to balance work and family, she temporarily settled in Wuhan for a year with her child and parents.
Hou and her team members spared no efforts to make a breakthrough in project construction and saved 980 million yuan (US $143.28 million) for the project by this innovative method alone.
The work station provides a platform for female engineers to be more professional in their careers. Since its establishment, members of the station have won a number of national and international awards, including two international prizes, six national technological prizes, more than 20 provincial-level prizes and over 30 authorized patents for innovation.
Qu Aiping, a female engineer of the 'innovation work station for outstanding women' of China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance & Design Institute, climbs the narrow stairs at a construction site of the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province.[China Women's News]
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)