Seeing Reina Gonzalez at the project site as the Belize City Center is being taken down, you would think that she is out of place. In Belize we don't generally associate women with being involved in these types of heavy work. But not only is Gonzalez at the right place, she is actually in charge of the project.
The San Narciso born, 24-year-old is petite in size, no more than 5 feet tall but is a trained engineer who completed a 5-year engineering degree at the Instituto Technologico de Chetumal. She has returned home and as of August of last year began to work with CISCO construction having been assigned to two projects including the lining of Collett Canal in Belize City. Now she is the one in charge of bringing down the City Center.
As the engineer in charge, there are at least 90 men who she is responsible for; being a woman, it is a challenge. Gonzalez says that even so she has been able to literally manage, "in order to get respect, you must give respect," she stated. It is a simple approach that she says has worked for her at the project sites where she has been assigned. She added that she addresses the workers, most of whom are men, in a respectful manner and explain why the work needs to be done in a particular manner to ensure safety, ease and best interest of the company she works for.
Giving instructions at the site is one thing, another is the fact that she is a woman in a male dominated profession. To this she says that she has always been encouraged to be the best that she can be both by her brothers and her father. She adds that specifically because her profession is male-dominated she wanted to show that women can excel in this arena. She added that this has driven her to complete her studies and return to show that the type of work is not only based on physical strength but intelligence is needed and she has been able to overcome that.