In Tianjin, women prove they can handle power

Female engineers working at State Grid are defying traditional roles

By YANG CHENG in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-17 09:04
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Liu Ruiying works on ultra-high-voltage direct current transmission lines in Tianjin. CHINA DAILY

Dozens of meters above the ground, a woman adorned in a heavy, custom-made metal shielding suit is hard at work, with arcs of electricity flickering at her fingertips and the crackling sound of current lingering in her ears.

From below, the engineer resembles a nimble dancer, gracefully navigating between the pylons and power lines.

This is a typical workday for 32-year-old Liu Ruiying, a liveline maintenance engineer at the State Grid Tianjin Electric Power Grid Company.

Liu earned her qualification for live-line work on ultra-high-voltage direct current transmission lines in 2019, making her the first woman in China in the industry to do so.

Her accomplishments, alongside those of other female engineers, have challenged traditional perceptions of what women are capable of.

In Tianjin, female engineers are proving to be just as capable and dedicated as their male counterparts, particularly those born after 2000.

Last year, two of the company's teams comprising female engineers achieved national-level recognition, while seven individuals received national-level awards, including accolades such as the May 1 and March 8 role model awards — honors granted to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to society.

The May 1 award honors laborers, in celebration of China's Labor Day holiday, while the March 8 award honors women in commemoration of International Women's Day.

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