All news

Brazil: Jossineide on the challenge of being a female refrigeration technician in the Amazon - Brazil’s heart

01.10.2018 , News :

Jossineide Oliveira and Silva - educator, consultant and entrepreneur - is one of the pioneer woman in the refrigeration field in Brazil. She is also the first female instructor in Porto Velho to teach the course “Good Practices Training on Air Conditioning Systems”, which is coordinated by the Brazilian Environmental Ministry and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). This is her story:

(opens enlarged image)
Jossineide participating on “Training of Trainers” for multiplication of the Good Practices Training on Air Conditioning Systems, in Manaus © GIZ Proklima

“When we are facing a challenge, we have two alternatives: stop, and spend our whole live at the same way, or overcome and move on, and maybe be an inspiration for others. This is what happened when I was 14 years old, and it was time to do my enrollment for a technician course, as my parents had recommended. When I arrived at school, I was informed that there weren’t any more vacancies at the traditional sewing course, naturally appropriate for women. At that moment the challenge begun. I had to decide between go back home or choose the other course that had vacancies, which was the technical course for RAC mechanics at SENAI (Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial) (opens in a new window) Porto Velho, in Amazon. I decided to go ahead with the technician course.

Everything at this course was new for me. The classroom was full, and I was the only woman. The sexist jokes with everybody laughing without realizing my presence. The lack of trust by the teachers and the colleagues. I had to work very hard to accomplish this course. And I studied harder, in and out the classroom. I kept thinking: “I need to know how to work more and better than the other technicians (men), because I always will be the most challenged.”

And my efforts were crowned with success: my teacher from that time choose me to participate at the Professional Training Tournament in 1996, in Brasília. The tournament was a national competition with a high technical and emotional level between refrigeration and climatization technicians of all technical schools in the country. I conquered the third place at the podium, ahead of Sao Paulo schools, the most developed state in Brazil! This achievement opened doors for me; I wasn’t just a woman in the refrigeration field anymore. I had proven that I had the knowledge!

At this time, an opportunity to work as an instructor at the RAC mechanic course, at SENAI-Porto Velho, came up. I was hired as an assistant, a position below the instructors, and even when replacing them, I was payed less. A fate, I share with a lot of women in other professions in Brazil and in the rest of the world. I continued studying for another three years and was finally recognized and registered by the Engineering Council to act in this field of RAC. At that time, I got married and gave birth to my three children. They have been by my side ever since.

I came back to teach at SENAI as an “instructor”, but earning about 1/3 less than my male colleagues. I took the job wondering whether I could change that situation, but I didn´t manage to. Seeing and living many injustices, I decided to study Social Assistance, to learn more on how to apply policies for those who have physical limitations at the workplace.

In parallel, I was invited to work at the technical assistance area of a RAC renowned company in my city, the Polo Frio Comercio e Serviço (opens in a new window). After an initial phase of hesitation, the company owner recognized my skills and gave me a promotion and I started to have the responsibility of standardize and manage all the services that the company was providing.

After that, I became partner in a company with a professional colleague and in this company, we combined a few dreams and projects to work with Variable Refrigerant Gas Flow (VRF) and Chiller Industrial Climatization Systems. That is how I became an entrepreneur, partner of Vento Sul Soluções Térmicas Ltda (opens in a new window). I also went back to work at SENAI and articulated SENAI’s participation on the GIZ call, so the school could minister the Good Practices Training on Air Conditioning Systems course (opens in a new window).

With my story, I hope to encourage any person who has interest in this profession to overcome limitation. Many times, I wanted to quit and only take care of my family. When I look back, I see how important insisting and not giving up is! How good it was to be dedicated and to pass through the obstacles of my professional life, even moral and sexual harassment.

Today, when I come into a classroom to minister RAC Systems Courses, I don’t see just people, men and women, wanting to learn, I see professionals capable of changing the world, adding in their lives values like: overcoming, determination and social and environmental awareness. This is my legacy. This is my work.”

By Jossineide Oliveira and Silva