Think equal, build smart, innovate for change – why International Women's Day is important
This year, the International Women’s Day theme was #BalanceForBetter, which invites both men and women to play a critical role in helping to create a gender-balanced world where we live and work. This goes hand-in-hand with our commitment: to design with community in mind. Without equality, how do we create strong and vibrant communities? Here at Stantec, we continue to build a workforce that empowers and attracts the best talent across the globe.
Over the past few years, our Women@Stantec (W@S) employee resource group (ERG) has grown in size, and now spans the globe. In New York City, the W@S chapter is the longest running group in the US, starting five years ago. On the other side of the globe, in New Zealand, the W@S group formed mid-2018. And, in 2019, the Pune, India, office kicked off their information session with more than 60 women in attendance.
The #BalanceForBetter campaign created some buzz in the Pune, India, office. “It’s nice to know people are making a big deal out of International Women’s Day,” said Emily Rousseau, director, RNet India. “The W@S ERG helps carry this out during the year, encouraging employees to think about how we can support women in the office.” To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Pune W@S committee gave greeting cards to the men in leadership positions who were asked to fill them out using three words of appreciation for each woman. On their own initiative, the men in the office organized small ceremonies to present the cards to the women on their teams. Along with the cards, W@S organized a talk with Aneeta Gokhale-Benninger, a local activist who strives to find balance between the environment and urban development in Pune. Over 120 staff (50% male) turned out to this inspiring talk. “There are men who are expressing interest in our group, for sure,” Pallavi Giri, design system analyst in the Pune office said. “This will be a key component of our W@S group—engaging the men in our office.”
In the New York City chapter, chairwoman Judy Hercules believes Stantec is showing progress in #BalanceForBetter. “We’re not stagnant,” she said. “I see it every day in the office here. We have people from all backgrounds and age groups. I know women have taken the backseat a lot, and I just want every woman to know that they do have a voice. That’s why this ERG is so important, and why it’s thriving here.” For International Women’s Day, their team celebrated with a hot breakfast where lots of great stories about women working in the field were shared. Every female employee was surprised with a flower and appreciation card on their desk, and finally, a surprise social event after work.
The Christchurch and Wellington offices in New Zealand celebrated International Women’s Day with morning tea and a discussion on what balance meant to the attendees. “I think Stantec has undertaken a lot of positive initiatives that are working towards a more balanced workplace,” said Isobel Oldfield, an environmental scientist in the Christchurch office. “Promoting diversity isn’t about pitting one group against another—diversity benefits us all.”
International Women’s Day seeks out gender equality not only in the workplace but also in the community—it celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. As a global company, Stantec promotes inclusion and diversity. We want our employees to feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work every day—this is why we support Women@Stantec.