Press For Progress - International Women’s Day 2018

We encourage everyone to continue to #PressForProgress and think, act and be gender inclusive.

 

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Debbie Sterling’s TEDx Talk, Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers.  As the mother of a bright, creative, industrious 10 year old girl, this particular TEDx Talk was impactful both personally and professionally.  For those who are unfamiliar with Debbie Sterling, she is the inventor of GoldieBlox, an interactive construction toy designed for girls.  As a young female engineer she is considered a pioneer in changing the toy industry and their traditional thinking of how to appeal to young girls.

So, why is it so important to have female engineers?  The value of diverse, gender balanced thinking is important in all industries, but particularly in engineering as the design and construction of literally everything in the world should reflect the need of both genders.  After all, 50% of our global population is female.

The question is, what can we do to encourage more young females to enter engineering in university and pursue engineering careers? One of the things I have chosen to do to address this question, is the continuous education of our young females on what engineering really is.  

Imagine being told that you could have a job where you invent, design and build all of the interesting things that you dream up in your head?  When I asked my 10-year-old daughter what she thought of this, she responded “that sounds awesome, who gets to do that?”.  Similar to Debbie Sterling, my daughter loves to draw, build and use her natural creativity to bring to life all the ideas she has in her mind. Of course, engineering sounds like a dream job for when she grows up!  

As I look at the International Women’s Day #PressForProgress initiative, I struggle to limit myself to only one of their five initiatives:

  • Maintain a gender parity mindset
  • Challenge stereotypes and biases
  • Forge positive visibility of women
  • Influence others’ beliefs/actions
  • Celebrate women’s achievements

I believe as a leader, a people influencer, and most importantly, a mother, I have an obligation to support all five initiatives and be a role model for girls and women in my community and organization.  While current female engineering ratios may not represent the global gender ratio, I believe that with the right behavioural changes and role models, our children will not have the same experience. 

I challenge you to #PressForProgress in all five ways and to ensure that our female engineers -  current and future - not only hear but see the change in the world.  

To discuss this insight article further, please contact Krista Pell, VP, People & Performance, Americas at Krista.Pell@ausenco.com.