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The Diversity Agenda wins prestigious international award

11 September 2019

The Diversity Agenda wins prestigious international engineering award

An entry from Aotearoa has won the “best diversity and inclusion initiative” award at the FIDIC International Federation of Consulting Engineers excellence awards in Mexico City.

The Diversity Agenda aims to make the male-dominated professions of engineering and architecture more diverse and inclusive. It’s a joint initiative between the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ), Engineering New Zealand, and Te Kāhui Whaihanga - New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).

Participating industry leaders commit to a 20 per cent increase in the number of women by 2021. Forty-five organisations joined the movement when it launched in April 2018, and it now has nearly 100 signed up.

Since its launch, The Diversity Agenda has widened its scope to the inclusion of ethnic minorities and the LGBTQI community. Participating organisations have changed how they think about parenting, career breaks and the merits of flexible work.

Why is change needed?

• Although 50 per cent of those graduating from architecture classes are women, only 22 per cent of registered architects are women.

• On average, 26 per cent of those enrolled in engineering schools are women, but fewer than eight per cent make it into senior management roles. Just over four per cent of engineers come from the Māori and Pasifika population.

The engineering and architecture industries design and build Aotearoa’s critical infrastructure. People working in the industry must reflect our population and communities, to make sure this infrastructure works for everyone.

Comments from our leaders

ACENZ President Ida Dowling said, “It was a huge honour to be recognised on the global stage and to be able to accept the award in Mexico City on behalf of our Diversity Agenda partners.”

“I could list all sorts of figures around why diversity and inclusion are good for business. However, ultimately, I think the principal reason for embracing this is about doing what’s right.”

“It may seem simplistic, but surely, we can all agree that our workplaces and communities will be better if people feel comfortable to be themselves? That they are encouraged to embrace their culture, not to be embarrassed about who they love, that they can ask for support, and we remove barriers to participation” says Ida Dowling.

“I am proud that our organisations are working collaboratively to make a real difference in Aotearoa.”

Susan Freeman-Greene, Chief Executive of Engineering New Zealand, says “We’re thrilled that the Diversity Agenda was recognised on the international stage. It’s wonderful recognition for the nearly 100 engineering and architecture organisations that have joined the Diversity Agenda so far and are standing up for change in our mono-cultural and male-dominated professions.

“Everyone knows that increased diversity is better for business and the bottom line. But making work more flexible and inclusive also creates an environment that’s better for everyone.”

NZIA Chief Executive Teena Hale Pennington, says “As we celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori in Aotearoa, we are delighted to be partnering with Engineering New Zealand and ACENZ on the Diversity Agenda. Diversity and inclusion are essential to the future of the professions, industry and New Zealand’s prosperity. The Diversity Agenda creates visibility and confidence to act amongst our members.”

About FIDIC: FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, is the global representative body for consulting engineers and represents over one million engineering professionals and 40,000 firms in more than 100 countries worldwide.

About the FIDIC Excellence Awards: The FIDIC Excellence Awards have been developed to recognise, reward and highlight the achievements and successes of FIDIC’s international members and the work they do representing the global consulting engineering industry. Award entries are welcome from any of FIDIC’s 102 member countries.

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