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22 JUN 2022

INWED22: HOW CAN MEN SUPPORT EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE?

To coincide with International Women in Engineering Day, Wojciech Szewczak explores how men can play their part

I

strongly believe that achieving a gender-balance within organisations promotes equality, diversity and inclusivity in a workplace. A gender balanced environment creates better cultures, improves team performance and nurtures better managers and leaders at every level.

As part of my role as chair for ACE’s Emerging Professionals, I promote the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) agenda and have proactively embedded theses values across our activity to create an environment which allows committee members to be themselves and grow, both personally and professionally. I am proud to say that half of all leadership roles within the group are now held by women – demonstrating that the next generation of business leaders understands the importance of ensuring gender balance and creating inclusive cultures. This is a big step forward and I hope will influence the future of the construction industry more broadly which has a long-held a reputation for not being diverse enough.

I used to feel that gender balance should be championed by women and that it had little to do with men. My experiences in my day job at Ramboll, reading books, watching videos and listening to podcasts on the topic has changed my views.

There is plenty that men working in our industry can do to be part of a wider conversation on achieving a balanced workplace Wojciech Szewczak

As our industry’s leaders are still predominantly male, without engaging their support as agents of change and gender champions, we will be unable to make the progress required. While it may feel like a topic which has many potential banana skins, there is plenty that men working in our industry can do to be part of a wider conversation on achieving a balanced workplace, including:

  • Confronting and challenging the behaviours which are wrong or inappropriate.
  • Being vocal about lack of diversity in the leadership teams, or in any company teams
  • Avoiding some of the traditional “pre-meeting banter” to inclusive topics that women can contribute to.
  • Becoming a mentor and sponsor, sharing your experience, and supporting women in their personal development.

As emerging leader, I feel a responsibility to show my passion and drive for creating an inclusive culture and bringing about a positive change. In many respects the emerging leaders I speak to regularly are one step ahead of business leadership on the issue and are asking the right questions to challenge the status quo and ensure we don’t return to business as usual.

This is why ACE Emerging Professionals were delighted to take part in the Building Inclusivity campaign which aims to bring everyone together to discuss how we can create more inclusive workspaces which are welcoming to all. Not only does this amplify the ED&I themes we’re exploring, but ensures we are able to proactively champion gender balanced workplaces to decision-makers.

Wojciech Szewczak (Ramboll) is chair of ACE’s Emerging Professionals.

Find out more about Building Inclusivity, the new ED&I campaign from ACE and EIC. Wojciech is participating in the first Building Inclusivity roundtable on LGBTQ+ on Wednesday 13 July 2022.

International Women in Engineering Day takes place on Thursday 23 June 2022.

Wojciech  Szewczak

Wojciech Szewczak

Principal Project Manager

Wojciech is chair of ACE's Emerging Professionals group and a principal project manager at Ramboll.

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