#IWD, #IWD2022, BreakTheBias, ED&I, Equity Diversity & Inclusion, International Women's Day, Women's History Month

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, and this year’s theme, #BreaktheBias, we are featuring stories from our ED&I leaders across the globe from March 1 – 8. Learn more about how AECOM is breaking the bias for our employees and communities, by following our conversations on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as the AECOM Blog.

At the onset, I would like to wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day! This year’s #BreakTheBias theme resonates with all of us, regardless of gender. Achieving gender equality is a challenge and one we all have a role and responsibility in realizing. While every year we continue to make commendable gains in achieving equality within our industry and workplace, there is no denying that we still have numerous barriers to break down. 

I believe that knowledge is power and that the key to bringing about positive change is to listen, recognize and respond to the existing bias that surrounds women as colleagues, leaders, managers, and all the other roles they play.  

As part of AECOM’s Enterprise Capabilities Centers (ECC) team, a diverse network of offices located around the world, my colleagues and I are committed to systematically fostering an inclusive and equal workplace while balancing an array of cultures.

This year, our group is targeting to have an increase of women in our overall workforce and our most senior leadership roles. As a first step, we have adopted a gender-neutral job description for promoting positions across levels in ECC. By using dedicated diversity hiring campaigns, we aim to enhance gender representation in our workforce and ensure that all genders are represented and welcomed. A mandatory guideline for all interview panels at ECC is to ensure that there is gender-balanced representation present. 

As we mark and celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognize that our efforts need to extend beyond March 8. Throughout the year, we ensure that equity, diversity and inclusion are a central part of our culture. Our reverse mentoring program allows younger colleagues to interact, coach and mentor senior leaders. Our Freedom to Grow program offers employees the flexibility and freedom to choose their work, workplace and work environment. This year, we plan to launch our Women in Leadership Program, designed to unleash the talent and capabilities of our young leaders. 

Gender equality requires the efforts of all. As women continue to overcome obstacles and fight for equality, I am reminded of Malala Yousafzai’s popular and inspiring quote, “Your gender should not create any difficulty in the choices that you make.” 

My personal goal as a leader is to help create a world where we celebrate differences, accept diversity and forge a gender-equal world. This year, I want to use the #BreakTheBias theme as an opportunity to carefully identify biases, create awareness and support employees in overcoming the same. Nurturing all talent should be a priority as we continue to deal with an ever-evolving work environment. Our world is changing, and we must change with it. Now is the time for more empathetic leadership at all levels. We have the opportunity to shape our industry and lead the way in gender equality. I encourage employees across AECOM and our industry to actively work to recognize and address gender bias and discrimination, and work together to remove all barriers so that we can create a more equal future together.

Originally published Mar 8, 2022

Author: Sameer Mathur