JN Celebrates International Won's Day

International Women’s Day: Embracing Diversity and Advancing Women in Engineering

As we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024, JN takes a moment to honour the significant contributions of women in engineering, while acknowledging the industry’s ongoing journey towards gender parity.

The JN team is a testament to the excellence that can be achieved when professionals of diverse backgrounds come together to achieve collective success. We are committed to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion in all aspects of our work, and on IWD, want to highlight our particular appreciation of the valuable input and strong working relationships for the women who play a crucial role in our team.

At JN, we are committed to fostering diversity and equal representation within our industry. We are proud to highlight the recent appointment of Kim Ziems as our new Commercial Manager, the promotion of Stephanie Dahan to Civil Project Engineer, and the hire of Claudia Novati as Associate Civil Engineer, underscoring our dedication to gender diversity and inclusion within our team.

Yet, the broader engineering sector, as with many STEM fields, still faces challenges in achieving gender equality.

Historically, women like Mary Anderson, the first recognised female civil engineer in the United States, and Marion MacDonald, a pioneering electrical engineer, have made ground-breaking contributions to engineering. These trailblazers, including Elsie MacGill and Florence Violet McKenzie, remain a lasting inspiration for more recent generations of female engineers to make their mark, such as Dr Marlene Kanga, who was chosen as the president of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations in 2017, or Diana Trujillo, an aerospace engineer who was the flight director for the robotic arm of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover.

Despite these achievements, women’s representation in engineering remains low, with only 13% of engineering positions held by women according to a 2022 report by Engineers Australia. This disparity highlights the need for continued efforts to ensure equal opportunities, pay and recognition for women in this traditionally male-dominated field.

“No one in my family told me that girls don’t do engineering” – Dr Marlene Kanga

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023 indicates that the journey towards gender equality is a marathon, not a sprint, with projections suggesting it would take over a century to close the gap.

This emphasises the importance of immediate, sustained and vigorous efforts to combat systemic issues that contribute to this disparity, particularly within STEM industries where female representation is lower. These may include:

  1. Cultural Shifts: Challenging cultural attitudes and stereotypes that discourage women from pursuing engineering careers is crucial. Promoting diversity in the workplace and supporting initiatives that encourage women’s participation in STEM fields are essential steps.
  2. Policy Interventions: Implementing policies that foster gender diversity, such as quotas and grants for women in STEM, alongside support for women returning to the workforce after career breaks, can make a significant difference.
  3. Industry Collaboration: Engineering companies can partner with educational institutions to offer internships and mentorship programs specifically aimed at women, helping to bridge the gender gap.
  4. Role of Education: Inclusive curricula, teacher training to avoid gender bias, and career guidance tailored to young women are key to nurturing interest in engineering from an early age.
  5. Community and Parental Engagement: Parents and community programs play a vital role in shaping perceptions and encouraging girls to consider engineering as a viable career path.
  6. Corporate Responsibility: Creating inclusive work environments, addressing gender pay gaps and promoting women to leadership roles are critical steps for corporations to take.

For IWD 2024, under the theme “Inspire Inclusion” in accelerating gender equality through economic empowerment, we reaffirm our commitment to advancing gender equality and female representation within JN and the broader engineering industry.

Looking ahead, JN will continue to invest in understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by women engineers, designers and technicians. We are more committed than ever to providing a supportive network and encouraging more women to enter our field.

On International Women’s Day, as we honour the incredible achievements of women engineers and their resilience in overcoming challenges, JN remains dedicated to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all employees. By doing so, we contribute to a more equitable future for our industry.

Stephanie Dahan and Liz Perkins
Stephanie Dahan (Civil Project Engineer) and Liz Parkin (Structural BIM Technician) attending an IWD event.

JN has been proudly serving the construction industry in Australia since 1970. In the early years, we operated as a small family business, specialising in the field of structural engineering. Today, JN has grown into a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy with offices across NSW and Queensland, employing around ninety individuals. Our team of experts possesses comprehensive knowledge in various engineering disciplines. JN engineering consultants specialise in civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, fire, sustainable, remedial, traffic and cladding services. We provide support to organisations, businesses and government entities in achieving their engineering and construction objectives. Our services encompass feasibility studies, conceptual design, detailed design, project management, construction supervision, commissioning and maintenance.