Recognising Women in Engineering

Diversity and inclusion runs through the DNA of Curtins, from day one we’ve recognised the importance of a balanced workforce in securing our success. This tracks back to Bill Curtin’s ethos which remains present in the way that we try and run our business. Despite an awareness of this, we do still have a significant gender imbalance at Curtins. Importantly, however, we know this needs to change.

I think we can all agree that evolution is taking place, it’s not necessarily happening very quickly, but it is going on all around us. And so, there was always this option that as a business we could sit back, wait for the change to happen and in about 20-30 years, I can pretty confidently say we would be looking at homing in on that nirvana of 50-50. Especially if we look at our graduate academy where we are there or there about.

But we always knew we needed to be more proactive than that. We need to put our foot on the accelerator. And so, we set up our Success for All initiative which focuses on what we need to do to bring more women into our business and into the industry.

When we set out our targets and our agenda for this initiative, we recognised pretty early on that there was a need for these awards in our industry to celebrate the good of today, as well as to provide a platform to inspire for tomorrow. And truth of the matter is, we momentarily thought we’d put a pin in that idea and come back to it in a couple of years when our story was a bit better in this area. When we were more comfortable with our Gender Pay Gap than we are at the moment. But then we had to give ourselves a good talking to. I think we actually said, “What would Bill say about that?!” and of course we knew what he would say; “get off your backsides and do it now”. So I guess you could say we had no choice! We absolutely had to harness that courage and live by what our core values are – if we think something is the right thing to do, then we should just get on and do it.

That’s where this journey all began. And we were really fortunate that the NCE agreed in the importance of the event and were keen to get involved.

So, let’s talk about the event’s importance. Why do we think it is so important? We often hear this phrase of ‘shining a light’ on the issue of gender diversity in our industry. And, whilst I really like that phrase and I think it represents a very important role in the conversations we have around all of this, I find that the discourse is often quite negative due to the simple fact that the topic encompasses a lot of negative elements. So, for now, I want to take that concept but tweak it slightly. Yes, these awards are about shining a light, but what we’re illuminating is all the good stuff. These awards are about celebrating the brilliant things that brilliant women are doing right now. They may not even actually realise it is brilliant, but brilliant it is. And do you know what? If a bi-product of these celebrations is inspiring other women, and young girls, to enter the industry because they see all the incredible achievements this career can offer, well then what a terrific bi-product that is!

These women and young girls will be receiving the message that you don’t have to be a man to succeed in engineering, you can leave to have a family and return and continue to succeed in engineering. And you will be surrounded by a bunch of great women who also succeeding in engineering.

We all need to lead by the example of these winners. We are delighted to be involved in this, because it is what we’re all about; a passion for our industry and celebrating fabulous people doing fabulous things.