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5 ways civil engineering is becoming more welcoming for women in the Middle East

14 March 2023

At this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, we spoke to Arya Ambujakshan about being a woman in the industry.

5 ways civil engineering is becoming more welcoming for women in the Middle East
The event was called Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, ICE UAE organised an event to highlight gender equality, women’s empowerment and innovation in technology.

The event, called Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future, saw women working in the region come together in Dubai. One of the participants was Arya Ambujakshan, senior design engineer at Laing O’Rourke Middle East.

Arya was inspired by the enthusiasm and drive of the female engineers who were present.

We asked her about her thoughts and hopes for women in civil engineering. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Positive changes towards flexibility and equality

We asked Arya about the positive changes she’s noticed in the workplace in the past five years.

She highlighted the flexibility of working culture, which has opened doors for more women to stay and return to the industry.

She also mentioned the appreciation of gender equality, ranging from pay gap to managing unconscious bias.

The future of the industry looks brighter and more diverse, moving away from the traditional, male-dominated working culture.

2. Space to make a mark in the workplace

Arya's advice for women who want to make their mark in the workplace is to be bold and fantastically skilled, inspiring other female engineers into the industry.

Curiosity is also important. Women should never be afraid to ask questions or challenge the status quo to pave a path of continuous career growth within the industry.

3. Diverse recruitment policies: a step towards inclusive workplaces

Arya noted that there has been a shift towards gender-neutral job descriptions, equal candidate profile ratios, and diverse hiring panels.

This trend is encouraging, as it shows that organisations are becoming more aware of the need for diversity in the workplace.

By adopting these policies, organisations can create a more inclusive environment that allows for a level playing field.

This ensures that all qualified candidates have an equal chance of getting hired.

4. Room to learn and grow

The best career advice Aria’s ever received was to be prepared and open minded to continuously learn and adapt. She’d recommend the same to every woman in the industry.

This advice is particularly relevant in today's fast-paced world, where change is constant, and new technologies and practices are emerging all the time.

By being prepared and open-minded, professionals can stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant in their careers.

This advice also highlights the importance of having a growth mindset, which involves embracing challenges, seeking out new opportunities to learn, and continuously improving oneself.

5. Opportunities to connect

Attending events like the one Arya participated in offers a valuable opportunity for women in the industry to unite and exchange their knowledge and experiences.

By sharing insights and advice, they can empower one another to achieve their career aspirations and inspire others to follow suit.

Aurelia Khisaf, ICE’s Middle East and North Africa membership development officer, said: ''This event serves as the foundation for a robust community that will provide unwavering support for our female members as they advance their professional endeavours and attain professional engineering qualifications.''

Make your mark

Are you a woman looking to make your mark in the civil engineering industry?

Do you want to be part of a diverse and inclusive community of professionals who are committed to gender equality and innovation?

Then join the Institution of Civil Engineers UAE today and enjoy numerous benefits!

  • Valentina Cazan, operations executive - Gulf at ICE