Posted on: March 12, 2019 at 9:02 AM    

Friday 8th March was International Women’s Day. It was great to see so many positive messages across social media and news channels in support of women all over the world. This year, the theme was #BalanceforBetter so I decided to take the opportunity to reflect on my first year working in an industry that’s tackling a serious gender imbalance. 

Gender equity is essential for thriving communities and economies. As put by The Diversity Agenda, “without diversity of thought and a workplace that’s representative of our society, we won’t keep up with change and innovation”.  

Knowing the gender imbalance in New Zealand’s engineering industry and understanding the benefits of gender diversity in the workplace, I feel lucky to have spent my first year in the industry at Abley.  Check out the comparison of how Abley stacks up with the wider engineering community of New Zealand.  Abley has lots of mana wāhine and I feel privileged to be part of the team.

Becky blog graphic amended 

Over the last year, I’ve seen some great developments in the industry and here at Abley:

  • Women in Urbanism Aotearoa landed in Christchurch and held some awesome events for women who care about cities, sustainability, climate change and good design outcomes for women.  
  • Kelly Smith joined our Abley Board of Directors – the first woman to do so.
  • Last week I attended the Engineering New Zealand Transportation Group conference. Held at Te Papa in Wellington, we walked through the “Doing It for Themselves: Women Fight for Equality” exhibition each day. Nine members of our Abley crew went to the conference, of which, six were women!
  • At the recent Transportation Group NZ conference, Jeanette Ward was announced Chair of the Engineering New Zealand Transportation Group - the first woman to hold the position! And Bridget Burdett was named Vice-Chair.  I think this is a fantastic achievement and I’m looking forward to seeing what these two women achieve for the industry.

We still have a long road ahead, but based on my last twelve months, I reckon things are looking up for women in transportation engineering! I’m excited to see what the rest of 2019 has in store. What can you do to contribute towards The Diversity Agenda’s goal of getting 20% more women into engineering and architecture roles by 2021?

Infrastructure New Zealand has identified some priority recommendations to increase gender diversity within infrastructure professional services.  Which ones can you contribute to? For me personally, the most relevant one is ‘make women more visible and more vocal and put women forward as representatives for the industry’. As a first step, I’m looking forward to being a Wonder Project Ambassador, which involves visiting schools to get students inspired about STEM.

Keep it up everyone!

Blog written by Becky Tuke, Graduate Transportation Engineer, Abley 

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