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Imagining the future for Australian women in engineering

June 20, 2022

International Women in Engineering Day: our engineers share their vision for a fully inclusive workplace for women

International Women in Engineering Day is held annually on 23 June, and this year's theme is Inventors & Innovators: Imagine the Future. To help celebrate, we asked some of our engineers to talk about how they see future workplaces for women.

At the end of the First World War, women who had been employed in technical fields found it almost impossible to continue working as engineers. A change in the law returned these women back to their domestic lives, while the legal and public service professions were letting women in.

Fast forward to 2022, we've come a long way, but we still have a long road ahead.

We're profiling women who recognise the gaps and dare to be part of the solution for a future workforce that represents all genders. We talked to a couple of them; hear what Lara, Ella, Gilza, and Anya had to say.

Ella Hingston, Senior Asset Management Engineer

A fully inclusive workplace environment echoes the diversity of our communities and celebrates our varied backgrounds and perspectives.

Ella believes the workplace can leverage this approach when we understand the needs and expectations of our people. Inclusiveness and diversity can spark higher innovation and better decision making.

“My vision for a fully inclusive environment is a workplace with ratios of women, men, and gender-diverse individuals that’s reflective of our communities.”

Ella is proud to be part of a team that includes diverse groups, enabling her and her colleagues to bring the best of themselves to work and shape our organisation, industry, and community.

As part of our global Women in Cardno now Stantec network, Ella is grateful for the opportunity to participate in local Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) events, to review scholarship applications for college students in the United States, and host a panel discussion for International Women’s Day.

“Empowering our staff and offering them the flexibility to get involved in inclusion, diversity and equality groups will ensure inclusivity is a central element of our future workforce.”

Gilza Maciel, Water Planning Engineer

Equal opportunities, a collaborative workplace and community, and trustworthy leadership is what Gilza says will embody a fully inclusive workplace.   

Her vision is for an environment where people can come together, share ideas and experiences, and cultivate a sense of belonging. A workplace where everyone is accepted for who they are, and one where their creative, innovative, and inventive ideas have a place to land.

“I envision the future to be a collaborative environment where everyone can trust and rely on each other, where employees feel connected and engaged and bring their best selves to work every day.”

Gilza is particularly invested in developing our future leaders through training and knowledge sharing and endorses Stantec’s career development pathways. She also values the close relationships with her like-minded colleagues.

“The training and career development opportunities promote a rich learning environment. I appreciate and value the internal group of women working alongside me, like the women in STEM, they’re inspiring, and you can feel the support when you walk into a room.”

Abseen Anya, Senior Engineer—Traffic & Transport

Anya is proud to work for a company ready to give women the chance to rise to a challenge. A business not only providing women a seat at the table but investing in the growth of their people through training practices, mentorship, sponsorship, and networking opportunities.

“As the saying goes, seeing is believing—it is empowering to see women who, on the basis of their merit, are in senior roles and decision-making positions within the workplace.”

Over the past two years, Anya received several opportunities to take on leadership roles for various traffic engineering projects. Cardno now Stantec supported Anya to attend training courses, workshops, and industry events, and facilitated her study leave to get Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. It’s made a significant difference in Anya’s career and helped to translate her international experience into the Australian context.

“I hope the experiences I have received will continue to be invested in for our future workforce, helping to progress women’s participation, growth and retention in the engineering field.”

Lara Al-Hassany, Senior Transportation Engineer

Lara’s vision of a fully inclusive workplace for women is an environment where individuals can bring their whole selves to work. She sees it as a place where they can be creative, share ideas, innovate, and live up to their full potential.

She believes in a workplace that values our identities and creates a space where we can express ourselves. Recognising and celebrating diversity of thought leads to an environment where employees enjoy going to work, take pride in what they do, and have a shared sense of belonging.

"As more people are free to express their unique identity, we’ll see more diversity of thought around the table. Problem solving requires learning and innovation, both of which are achieved when different perspectives are welcomed. Inclusivity also goes a long way in bettering workplaces by allowing flexibility and encouraging people towards wellbeing practices, bringing out the best in them."

Stantec’s values strongly resonate with Lara. "The core value of putting people first creates space for everyone to feel empowered to reach their potential."

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