Ingrid Bruce was a civil engineer who was the first female chair of the Civilingenjörsförbund (CF) (association of civil engineers).
Ingrid Bruce was born in Säffle in 1940 and grew up in that town. Her parents were Karl Georg Bruce, a civil engineer, and Ellen Ingrid Bruce. Ingrid Bruce was the second child in a family comprising six sisters and one brother. As a child she was a successful swimmer and she gained her school-leaving certificate from the mathematical department within the natural sciences school line in 1958.
Having completed her schooling Ingrid Bruce decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and she began to train as a civil engineer at Chalmers technical college, studying in the electronics department. When she began her studies in 1959 she was one of only three women among a total of 125 electronics students. The training environment was heavily influenced by the majority male students and teachers. Later Ingrid Bruce would seek to counteract the lack of female enrolment in technical studies.
After gaining her civil engineer qualification in 1964 Ingrid Bruce moved to Stockholm, where she began to work at the Kungliga Flygförvaltning (royal air force administration), known as Försvarets materielverk (defence materiel administration) from 1968 onwards. Her work involved defence robotics, mainly robotic guidance technology. In 1969 she transferred into the private sector and TUAB, which later became AB Teleplan och Communicator. This was a consultancy focused on telecommunications and electronics. Although the company worked closely with the Swedish defence agency, Ingrid Bruce worked mainly on navigation technology and positioning of ports and steelplants. In 1993 Ingrid Bruce returned to work for Försvarets materielverk (FMV) and became the project leader for developing the surface-to-air-missile-system BAMSE – which resulted in her becoming nicknamed ‘Bamsemor’ (Bamse mama). In 1998 she became the head of Kompetenscentrum Vapen (weapons centre of excellence) at FMV, where she remained until 2003.
As a member of the union Ingrid Bruce became elected deputy for the local union club at TUAB, and began to attend ordinary meetings there. She realised that this was a sphere within which she could have an impact. She eventually became chair of the local section and in 1975 she was elected onto CF’s AE commission, the agency for the labour market and negotiations for individual sectors. From 1982 she was a board member for the association and in 1985 she was elected as chair of the CF, a post she held until 1989, and the first woman to do so. It was through her work with CF that she met the man she went on to marry in 1988, namely Gerhard Raunio. He was on the association board, and he was a civil engineer and a professor at the Tekniska (technical) college at Linköping university. They married in 1991. Her husband was later chair of CF, from 1995-2002. The couple did not have any children together but Gerhard Raunio had three from a previous marriage.
Within her union work Ingrid Bruce was mainly concerned with wages and the quality of training courses. She was particularly concerned with the major wage inequalities for civil engineers within the private sphere compared to the public sphere. These differences in wages caused a skill drain from the civil engineer training courses and Ingrid Bruce sought to stem this. It was not until her husband became chair that a tangible change, that of free wage determination for civil engineers within the public sector, was introduced.
Throughout Ingrid Bruce’s entire working life the corps of civil engineers remained a heavily male-dominated sphere. She did not believe that this had impacted negatively on her, and in fact thought it could be a positive thing to stand out from the masses when she felt she had something to say. She herself said that she only experienced sex discrimination on one occasion. This was in relation to a managerial position that she was prevented from applying for because it required the applicant to be an officer – which was not an option open to women at the time. Ingrid Bruce treated the whole matter as ‘silly’ and later got her revenge by gaining a similar managerial position without being an officer. As chair of the CF she was heavily involved in efforts to persuade more women to become qualified within technological and scientific professions. She often made direct appeals to these groups. ‘I tell the women not to allow themselves to be downtrodden. But neither should they go looking for injustices. Respect is gained through expertise. One should know one’s job!’, was Ingrid Bruce’s response to these situations.
When Ingrid Bruce became chair of the CF she was asked why the CF did not have an equalities programme and was it not high time one was put in place. She was, however, not interested in generating documents which would end up in a desk drawer, she was focused on practical matters. This led to her establishing the first Swedish network of female civil engineers in Stockholm in 1986. Here professional women could share their experiences.
Ingrid Bruce was active in FEANI from 1985. This was a European organisation for civil engineers. She was vice-president of the organisation from 1991-1994 and further was the chair of the Swedish committee within the organisation for a long period.
Ingrid Bruce maintained her interest in training issues even after her retirement, and as such she offered homework help to school children.
Ingrid Bruce died in 2012. She is buried at the Skogs cemetery in Stockholm.