International Women’s Day: Woman, Iranian, electrical engineer

Sahar Khodamvayghani works in the TG Repair Center. For her, there are no men’s or women’s jobs – just talented people.

Sahar Khodamvayghani is used to treading paths in life that are unusual for women. Not everyone has always been happy about it, she says. But these paths have taken her to where she always wanted to be.

Sahar is in her element when she analyses devices to detect and resolve malfunctions. She was the only women at the Technogroup Repair Center, which specialises in repairing medical technology. But with her master’s degree in electrical engineering, she felt right at home. “I love my job. I really enjoy the work and I have kind colleagues who appreciate me,” explains Sahar, who joined Technogroup two years ago and is currently on parental leave. Sahar certainly does not take being valued for her talents and her work for granted.

Sahar was born in Iran. Her father is an electrical technician. “Even as a little kid, I would always watch him work and ask questions,” says Sahar. “I wanted to find out how technical devices work, and my father explained it all to me.” She put what she learned into practice straight away, building a lamp, a fan and a mixer for her dolls. Sahar was eight when a teacher told her parents that the little girl was especially gifted in mathematics. When Sahar was 15, she was allowed to try out university-level maths and physics. She did her A-Levels at 17 and began her degree in electrical engineering at 18.

“Some men said that I shouldn’t study or work.”

Although she was always top of her year, some of her professors and fellow students still felt she didn’t belong in the degree programme. Others were open and friendly towards her. In her first degree, 12 of the 24 students were women, showing that women are recognising the opportunities open to them in traditionally male domains. “In Iran, women study so that they are not dependent on a man. The best way to do that is with a technical profession, which are in high demand on the labour market,” explains Sahar.

After completing her master’s in Tehran, she started her first job in the medical technology sector. “Half of my male colleagues did not want to accept that I and my female friend also worked at the company. Even our good performance did not help. But the boss supported and valued us.”

Two and a half years ago, Sahar married and moved with her husband to Germany. Here she found a new professional home at Technogroup. “We are delighted to have Sahar in our team. The myths about technical fields being the reserve of men are totally unjustified – at least at Technogroup,” says CEO Arnd Krämer with conviction. “The sector needs capable specialist staff now more than ever. We are delighted when women are enthusiastic about technical professions and choose Technogroup for their apprenticeship or as an employer.”

“Talents need to be acted on!”

When asked what she would say to girls in Germany or Iran who are thinking of taking up a technical profession, Sahar’s answer is clear: “If a girl has a talent, she should act on it.” Sahar was lucky enough to have parents who always encouraged her to pursue her talent and find her own way. “Parents should not pigeon-hole children, but instead recognise their talents, whatever they might be. That is what my parents did, and it is how I plan to raise my own children. I would love to see lots of women in technical professions. I wish that everyone would understand that there is no difference. I am grateful to my family and my husband for nurturing my talents so well and supporting me so lovingly. I would also like to say a big thank you to my colleagues at Technogroup for the good collaboration and pleasant working environment.”

Sahar is currently enjoying being on parental leave with her daughter, but after that she will return to the Technogroup Repair Center and dedicate herself to her professional passion once again. Giving up her job is out of the question – it is her vocation.

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