A pledge for change on Women in Engineering Day
Posted: 23 June 2018
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Women in Engineering Day (23rd June) shines a spotlight on the achievements of women in a field that has historically been dominated by men – It’s an international celebration of the benefits diversity brings to our industry. In a profession rooted in solving the world problems, nothing seems more relevant than encouraging and celebrating diversity and the multifaceted perspectives this can provide.
Sian Willmott, CIBSE ANZ Young Engineers Network Chair commented, "It is widely recognised that diversity is an important factor in the success of an organisation. Diverse people (gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.) can highlight different perspectives; and different ways to which a problem can be solved, or even approached. This is why diversity is so important in the field of engineering. Without diversity, we may continue to see the world and it’s problems (or opportunities) with the same lens, never quite stepping out of the box.
On a personal level, the world of engineering for me is fun. It’s a constant challenge and learning experience and it’s ever changing as the society around us evolves. I’ve been lucky enough to work on projects from healthcare to education, from laboratories to train stations and offices and community centres. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than looking at a development and thinking ‘I helped create that'."
The 2018 CIBSE ANZ Young Engineers Awards ceremony, on 19th June, recognised Melanie Finch, Project Engineer at NDY as Graduate of the Year for her strong service to the industry and her ambassadorial qualities.
Melanie commented, "I am incredibly appreciative to have been successful in gaining this award. My fellow finalists were two impressive young women also in the building services industry. For me, this demonstrates the commitment in the industry to attracting and developing young female engineers, and it is exactly the type of event that can provide tangible examples to aspiring students of what their career could look like in engineering."
Sharyn Blakemore, Bachelor of Design Architecture at Deakin University, was also recognised as Student of the Year for her passionate video in a competition spanning Australia and New Zealand.
Policy Manager at the Property Council of Australia and 2018 Young Engineers Awards Judge, Frankie Muskovic, reflects on the changing of the tide, “As a woman who went through an engineering degree that averaged less than 10% female participation, it was absolutely thrilling to see so many driven, inspiring young women put themselves forward for consideration in the CIBSE Young Engineer of Year awards. With women comprising 4 out of 9 finalists and 2 out of 3 winners for the awards this year, it shows that women are increasingly backing themselves in what has long been a male-dominated industry. We have much more work to do to grow the pipeline of female talent in our industry, but it is wonderful to see the confidence and passion of young female engineers coming through university with such bright futures.”
Given that only 9% of CIBSE membership in Australia and New Zealand is currently made up of women, diversity initiatives are high on the Institution’s strategic plan, recently reviewed in May 2018 with both CIBSE ANZ’s regional and external advisory committees. One of the outcomes of this joint task force is to fully address diversity. Due to a collaborative culture, CIBSE has the support and access to the strategic work of many organisations, including the Property Council of Australia, to help address gender diversity in our industry.
“The time for change is now. The CIBSE ANZ regional committee is 100% committed to encourage, recognise and involve women in engineering. We pledge to transition and address diversity head on and ensure equal opportunities exist within each of the Chapter, Regional and Young Engineer committees” Paul Angus, CIBSE ANZ Chair.
Women around the world are raising the bar, as we press for progress - Hear from industry leaders in the region from Aurecon, ARUP and AECOM, courtesy of our kindred industry organisation AIRAH. Read this article
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