More women are needed in engineering, says FIDIC president-elect

07 Mar 2023

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Wednesday 8 March 2023 is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme of DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality, is especially apt for all those working in the engineering, construction and infrastructure sector.

Commenting on the day and the role of women in the engineering and construction sector, FIDIC president-elect Catherine Karakatsanis, said: “On International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and also acknowledge the barriers and challenges they have faced and overcome.

“As the president-elect of FIDIC, I am committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in our profession and creating a more equitable and supportive environment for all engineers. Let us continue to empower and elevate women in engineering and work together to create a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.”

Speaking to the international infrastructure industry online news platform, Infrastructure Global this week, Karakatsanis, who is also the chief operating officer at the employee-owned professional services firm Morrison Hershfield, said that it was vital that the role of women in the industry was highlighted, not just on International Women’s Day, but on an ongoing basis.

“It is important to celebrate the significant contributions women make in our industry, especially given the fact that they are a small minority, as they still thrive and produce amazing work,” she said. “I hope this will encourage more women to join our industry because women have the capacity to gain the knowledge and skills required and will enjoy a wonderfully rewarding career. I see this daily in my role as a consulting engineer,” said Karakatsanis.

She said that more women were needed in engineering and construction because the industry was an essential one in securing health, safety and economic prosperity around the world. “To do this effectively, the industry must actively engage the best minds and we need to ensure a strong core of potentially different views and ways of thinking, which means ensuring more women are joining and staying in the industry and leading it as well. Society will prosper as a result,” Karakatsanis said.

Commenting on the importance of the need to increase diversity across FIDIC, its board and committees, FIDIC CEO Dr Nelson Ogunshakin said: “I’m confident that Catherine’s ascension to the presidency later this year will encourage increasing diversity and inclusion within FIDIC and the wider industry. As an organisation, FIDIC is keenly aware of the challenge to ensure that our board and our committees are inclusive and diverse and I look forward to seeing further improvements in this area going forward.

“As well as Catherine as a member of the FIDIC board, we also have Chantal Dagnaud from France and Martina Hess from Zambia playing important roles on the board. In addition, a number of our committees and councils are also led by brilliant women from our industry - Enni Soetanto (Membership), Tracey Ryan (Sustainable Development), Stacy Sinclair (Digital Transformation) and Dr Michele Kruger (Diversity and Inclusion).

“On International Women’s Day, I also want to pay tribute to the excellent work of FIDIC’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, which is looking at all aspects of diversity, including gender, ethnicity, religion and social background, to help advise on how companies should consider these and how industry policies can be better crafted to manage and monitor diversity and inclusion.”

FIDIC will be celebrating International Women’s Day by highlighting the day and its key theme of innovation and technology for gender equality across its social media platforms.

Click here to read the interview with Catherine Karakatsanis on Infrastructure Global.

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