Coffee break with Christiane Joosten
Arrived almost 30 years ago in Zolder as a student worker, Christiane Joosten is now one of the most experienced people working for EverZinc. An exceptional course for the woman who has been the only female engineer in the company for years.
Christiane, you have started to work for EverZinc as a student before joining the company in 1990. Had you planned to work in the Zinc Field during your studies?
Not at all! Actually, I studied agricultural engineering, which is known today as “bioengineering”. I got the opportunity to work for EverZinc for a vacation job in 1989 thanks to my niece who was already employed there. Afterwards, I saw her again in January and she told me that the company was looking for a person ad interim to do some work at the laboratory concerning the reduction of metallic zinc. I thought it could be a good experience, so I applied. According to the job description it should have lasted three months, but I’m still here!
And the least we can say is that you made your way within EverZinc.
Yes! I stayed at the laboratory for five years until 1995. Then I was promoted production assistant and finally became head of production in 2008. Today, my colleagues call me the “kitchen princess” because I have to look for all the raw material that is coming in and mix it to get a good feed for the furnace.
Still in 2018, engineering is not really a woman thing. They only represent 26% of civilian engineers and 11% of industrial engineers in the EU. We can also notice this weak rate in our company. Is it difficult for a woman to find her place in this “man’s world”?
In my university, in the Bioengineering Field, we were quite a lot of women. And I think that today they are in majority. But when you come to the zinc world, it is another thing. Personally, I have never felt any difficulty to speak or being heard. People here have known me for a long time, I have a 28 years’ experience and I have evolved in the same company. It may have legitimized my voice.
After almost 30 years, I think we can say that you like working for EverZinc. What is the thing you like the most here?
Firstly, I like my job because of the variation of the tasks. Every day at Zolder is different and there are lots of challenges. Especially now that we have to handle more raw material of new suppliers.
Tomorrow it’s the weekend. What do you have planned?
After Easter, I spend most of my week-end cycling and playing tennis. Next week, the “interclub” season will start again for few months, so I have to practice if I want to be competitive. As sport is one of my biggest passions, I also often walk between 20 and 30 kilometers with my colleagues.