Monday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. A day that arose in the twentieth century when women stood up for their rights. To celebrate this day, we would like to put the spotlight on 5 women. From Monday to Friday we publish a portrait of a strong and tough woman in what used to be considered a profession for men. This is part 3.
Elisa Haverkamp of Digitronics is one of the women who regularly take the UNI-GR1 out of its suitcase to survey data. A task that is often thought to be performed only by men, but Elisa shows that it is not true.
“I have a very varied and challenging job, no two days are the same. As a company, we are mainly concerned with installation and infrastructure technology. The construction of mainly electricity, water, and sporadic gas pipes, as well as fiber-optic networks and work on the Ziggo network. When a cable or pipe is laid, the top layer is then sealed. The Land Registry (The Dutch ‘Kadaster’) must know exactly where these cables and pipes are located and that is measured so that you can also find the location in a number of years when any new work is being carried out.
I am responsible for work preparation, schedules, and incoming orders, but also check whether our teams have carried out everything in accordance with the assignment. For that I use the UNI-GR1, I am also the only one who uses the receiver within our company. I often work in the office for work preparation and planning, but I regularly go out for checks. Then, the equipment goes into the car and I continue working on location. When I get out of the car and walk into a company or site shed, I often get some surprised looks. Most people expect a man to check the work, but I almost always get nice responses when I explain what I am about to do. And how I am going to do that, by surveying digitally myself and working with my own equipment. Sometimes, someone watches me do that and then I show it, which really makes the penny drop that a young woman can do this just as well as a man.
This is what I know, I am the only one within Digitronics who surveys digitally. I was only enrolled in to all of this if I’m honest. About 3 years ago, I worked a few days a week as a receptionist in addition to my studies, but that company could not give enough hours, which were often on Sundays. That did not go together with studying and then I started working for my father at Digitronics for 2 days. After my studies, that quickly grew to 4 and then 5 days, during which my range of tasks became more and more extensive. Digital surveying was also added. It feels normal to me and I don’t actually realize that this makes me an exception. I also like this more than working as a receptionist, because it entails more variety and challenge. More opportunities to learn something new and help customers. When the customer is happy, I am happy.
If I can give some piece of advice to women who (want to) work in a “male profession”, it is mainly showing that you can do a lot of work. You can see that this cannot only be done by men by looking at me. If it doesn’t go left, it will go right.”