'Come and join us': Engineering's push for gender parity

'Come and join us': Engineering's push for gender parity

Engineering chief executive Emily Frizell has a simple message for young girls thinking about joining the profession.

“It’s exciting and it’s interesting and they should just come and join us,” she says.

Keely Quinn, left, and Emily Frizell outside Engineers Australia.

Keely Quinn, left, and Emily Frizell outside Engineers Australia. Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Mrs Frizell is the chief executive of engineering consultancy AeroPM, which she joined after a long stint with the Australian Air Force.

Although she had spent a long period of her career in male-dominated environments, she said she never really felt like gender held her back in engineering.


“I always felt like I had the same opportunities as everyone else. I never felt held back,” she said.

“I am used to working in a male-dominated environment. I don’t think that is something that detracts. But I just want to see more and more girls getting engaged with it.”

Mrs Frizell was inspired to share her story as International Women in Engineering Day rolled around on Saturday.

Typically a male-heavy profession, she said she hoped to break down some of that stigma.

“One of the things that still resonates with me today is that engineering is exciting and it is interesting.

“It is also something you can do flexibly as well. You can pick your hours and your days, which is something that is particularly valuable to women who have children.”

Women currently accounted for 13 per cent of engineers in Australia, Engineers Australia ACT manager Keely Quinn said.

Although this number had increased 3 per cent in the last decade, at the same rate it would take 100 years for gender parity in Australian engineering, Ms Quinn added.

“Engineers Australia, and the industry more generally, would like to see more women coming to work in engineering.

“It gives the profession more diversity of thought, which is so important in creating new innovations and engineering solutions.”

Steven Trask is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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