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International Women’s Day 2022 – Break the Bias


Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day is held to celebrate the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of women. This year's theme is Break the Bias. We asked five inspiring K&A women what it means to them.

Thanks to: Jinane Ghosh, Design Engineer- Proposals, Beirut office and member of the Executive Committee at World Association of PPP Professionals; Yasmina Kridly, Design Architect, UAE office; Gloria Mushi, Business Office Manager, Tanzania office; Nisha Ramesan, Senior Project Urban Planner, India office; and Nevine Sabet, HR Senior Manager – Egypt office.

Question: What does the International Women’s Day slogan, #BreakTheBias, mean for you in your work life?

Jinane: “Breaking the bias means that it is time to speak up and break down the barriers that segregate women from men in the workplace. The most significant biases that women face in the workplace are the under-representation in decision-making positions and imbalanced opportunities.”

Yasmina: “Women break the bias every day by proving that they can accomplish high levels of job excellence while maintaining a balanced and healthy personal life with their families.”

Gloria: “For me, break the bias means creating a workplace with non-discriminatory support for employees’ growth and potential, and promoting an inclusive workplace, regardless of race, gender, or any other differences.”

Nisha: “Some people still believe that engineering and architecture are unsuitable professions for women. This manifests as unconscious biases in their career progression. Breaking the bias requires us to be conscious of the impact this perception has on women’s careers and to take proactive steps to address it.”

Nevine: “Breaking the bias in the workplace involves allowing everyone, regardless of gender, to pursue their desired careers. So, breaking the bias means that you must first believe in yourself and not see yourself differently, as this creates room for others to see you differently.”

Question: What are you doing to help forge a gender-equal world?
Jinane: “On this International Women’s Day, I pledge to do my part in breaking the bias and take action for an equitable, diverse, and inclusive future by celebrating the achievements of my female colleagues, recognizing their contributions and empowering them.”

Yasmina: “On this International Women’s Day, I commit to encouraging young girls to dream big and fight for their rights. I commit to teaching my son that gender equity is everyone’s right, and that bias is an act of insecurity.”

Gloria: “On this International Women’s Day, I pledge to encourage young women to pursue careers in engineering and management and show them it is possible to excel in such fields. I also commit to continue mentoring both young women and men to show them that diverse teams perform better.”

Nisha: “On this International Women’s Day, I commit to guiding and mentoring young women and girls in my social and professional circles. This will gradually transform women’s perception of career choice.”

Nevine: “On this International Women’s Day, I pledge to give women and men equal opportunities in recruitment, training, and succession planning. I also commit to always providing a safe space for women to express themselves, and share their unique skills and abilities.”

Question: Do you think our sector is becoming more accessible and welcoming to women?

Jinane: “Women account for only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), while men outnumber women in most STEM subjects in college. The main problem to tackle is not creating a workplace that is more accessible to women but rather making it more welcoming and inclusive for women to enter, stay, and succeed.”

Yasmina: “I believe the architecture and engineering fields have become more accessible to women in recent years. Although the gender gap is still big, young girls are showing an increasing interest in design and technology thanks to women who have achieved greatness and motivated them to pursue their ambitions. Many men are all for breaking the bias by supporting women in the field and providing them with the right opportunities.”

Gloria: “We see an increasing number of women in the field, especially young women who aspire to become engineers, architects, or designers. However, there aren’t a lot of women at decision-making positions to push the agenda of making the field more accessible to women.”

Nisha: “Yes, I believe there has been an increase in the representation of women in our industry over the last decade. However, there is still a long way to go when compared to the advances made by other sectors in this aspect.”

Nevine: “When I joined K&A HR, I was happy that the company had already established a supportive corporate culture by giving women fair chances to excel. But if we are about to speak in general, it all depends on how well women are supported to do their jobs. Companies that provide support and celebrate women’s successes are often the ones that have women succeeding.”

Question: How can we encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering and architecture?

Jinane: “Throughout their education, women are systematically steered away from science and math, limiting their access to pursue these disciplines as adults. Women’s presence in the engineering and architecture industry is crucial in demonstrating to young women that they can be happy and thrive in their jobs. To change this, women must be at the forefront of conversations to bring out a variety of approaches in creating a workplace where differences are valued and supported.”

Yasmina: “Mentoring and coaching young women should begin as soon as they enter universities. We must also provide women with the right benefits so that they don’t have to choose between their careers and personal lives. Men must be conscious of the bias, break the bias, and respect women in the workplace.”

Gloria: “Recognizing women who thrive in engineering and architecture may inspire young women to pursue careers in those fields.”

Nisha: “Industry-sponsored scholarships for young women can help motivate more of them to pursue careers in those fields. What’s more, we must recognize the underrepresentation of women in the workplace and implement hiring policies to address it.”

Nevine: “In the workplace, we should strive to promote a bias-free environment. This might be accomplished by offering equal opportunities, rewarding on merit, and leading by example by showing young engineers and architects dedication, fairness, transparency, and compassion for both men and women.”

Question: How would you advise women to develop their careers?

Jinane: “My advice to all women, especially young professionals, is be your self-promoter. Pursue opportunities, don't be afraid to ask questions, and when you fail, embrace your failures and learn from them. Compete with yourself rather than others, and accept challenges even if they scare you. But, above all, be yourself.”

Yasmina: “I would advise women to voice their concerns and prove to everyone, especially themselves, that everything is possible and that juggling work and personal responsibilities is doable with proper planning and commitment.”

Gloria: “I would advise women to choose a goal and adhere to it, and to look at the larger picture regardless of obstacles along the way. Never say no to change, and be prepared to take on challenging projects and assignments without hesitation or excuses.”

Nisha: “Find a mentor. Their insights and guidance can help in making better career decisions and navigate the workplace and its challenges.”

Nevine: “I would tell women to be proud of themselves, of their ideas and contributions. While perfection is difficult to reach, always aim for excellence by adhering to your work standards, staying up to date on industry trends, and being willing to go the extra mile.”