Historically, engineering has been a male-dominated field but, to coincide with International Women’s Day, a number of organisations operating within the engineering space are recognising the roles played by women in the field.
One of the most significant announcements came from energy retailer EnergyAustralia, which is committing $1.2 million so women and men with equivalent experience and skills will receive the same pay for doing the same job.
EnergyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna said the organisation currently had a two per cent gender pay gap, so around 350 women would receive adjustments to their pay of, on average, $3500 to close that gap.
“I’m proud of the good progress we’ve made in the past four years with hiring women to senior roles, the makeup of our workforce and in remuneration generally,” said Tanna.
“But it’s not right or fair to expect women to have to wait any longer for the pay gap to close – so, we’re fixing that right now. If we want to attract our share of the bright, talented women out there we must also treat them fairly and give our people opportunities to do the best work of their careers.”
The Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE) announced it was seeking women of exceptional calibre to fill five lecturer positions across all engineering and computer science disciplines.
MSE Dean Professor Graham Schaffer said engineering needs to be much more balanced to reflect modern society.
“In the University where the exploration of ideas, thought leadership and curiosity is fundamental to our teaching and research performance, improving the representation of women is clearly necessary to further develop the School as a world leading centre of excellence for teaching and research in engineering and computing,” he said.
“We are committed to remedying this gender imbalance and providing a supportive environment where women in academic roles are empowered to achieve their aspirations.”
And last night, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced biomedical engineer Professor Hala Zreiqat was the state’s 2018 Woman of the Year. Zreiqat is the head of the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Unit at the University of Sydney and will lead the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Bioengineering, being launched later this year.
“It is very humbling to be considered for this award as there are many other highly deserving candidates who contributed to NSW,” she said.
“Being Woman of the Year will give me more opportunity to reach out and expand my interactions with young people around NSW, not just those in the big cities or well-known schools and Universities, but also in regional remote areas.”