#IWD, ED&I, Equity Diversity & Inclusion, International Women's Day, InvestInWomen, IWD2024, Women's History Month

This year, for International Women’s Day on March 8, we are following the United Nations’ theme of ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate progress’, which is based on the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals and is in alignment with our Sustainable Legacies strategy.

Follow our IWD 2024 blog series to hear from our leaders around the world about initiatives and programs geared towards investing in women at AECOM.

Engage in this year’s conversations on LinkedIn and X (Twitter).

According to Fortune magazine, in 2023, only 10.4 percent of Fortune 500 companies had women CEOs, and a quarter of these 52 leaders became CEOs in the previous year. These statistics prove that women still face challenges in progressing to senior leadership roles. Yet, there is a powerful beacon of hope: the success of mentoring in women’s career progression. Mentoring not only enhances job satisfaction but is pivotal in guiding women to hone essential skills and navigate their career landscape effectively.

Mentorship helps create a culture where high-potential women are supported and advocated for. This isn’t just about breaking through glass ceilings, it is about building scaffolds to reach and surpass them, ensuring that women are empowered to unleash their full potential.

As part of our continued investment in our women across Asia, we are launching a ‘Womentoring Circle’ program. Cissy Ho, Talent Management Director, Asia, is driving the program.

Cissy Ho, Talent Management Director, Asia

“Empowerment goes beyond boundaries when women come together to uplift, inspire and mentor one another. This well describes the essence of our vision in Womentoring Circle,  where the strength of peer mentoring ignites a powerful network to support and guide us through personal and professional challenges. Together, we thrive and grow to reach new heights in our career aspirations.”

The program will run in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Southeast Asia and Taiwan and is designed by women for women. The Circles will meet monthly for 90-minute sessions. The peer mentoring methodology is supported by the nonprofit Lean In which combines a world-class leadership curriculum with the power of women coming together for collective learning, growth and support.

Rosaline Lau, Executive Director, Structural, Building Engineering, Hong Kong

“A successful career is not about being perfect. It’s about cherishing every opportunity to learn, to grow and to achieve what you dreamed to become. Be courageous and live your unique story! I encourage all my women colleagues to participate in Womentoring Circles!”

Mentorship for women serves as a catalyst for change within organizations. By altering prevalent perceptions of women’s capabilities, it instills a greater sense of confidence and a higher chance for women to ascend to leadership roles. Here are a few examples:

  • Creating a safe space: Peer mentorship carves out a secure environment for women to voice their career aspirations. This empowerment leads to a more pronounced articulation of these ambitions to form concrete career development actions, fostering a culture where high-potential women’s ambitions are well-respected and recognized.
  • Accountability and performance: A Circle of peer mentorship acts as a steadfast support network, ensuring women remain accountable and committed to each other’s career development goals. This partnership is directly linked to boosted performance, enhanced employee engagement, and ultimately, a rise in employee retention rates.
  • Networking and visibility: One of the profound benefits of having women peer mentors is the expansion of one’s professional network. Whether a Circle is made of co-workers from the same business line, or other women colleagues going through similar family life stages, this tight-knit support group will carry them through both personal and professional challenges. Most importantly, people tend to learn best in groups where they can benefit from different perspectives and be motivated by the group dynamics.

Peer mentorship imbues women leaders with the confidence to act upon their career ambitions and undertake necessary steps to accelerate professional growth. It also contributes to the broader organizational goals of enhancing diversity and offering platforms for constructive feedback, which is a cornerstone of helping women overcome workplace challenges and elevate their achievements. When we invest in Womentoring Circle programs, we are not just bridging the gender gap, we are laying down the foundation for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive business landscape.

Jagriti Dawra, Executive Director, Environment, Singapore

“Womentoring Circle in its true sense is aimed to be a guiding light from a woman leader to another budding leader, a heart-to-heart talk, as no one understands a woman better than another woman. In the current world, a woman holds many responsibilities, and this program aims to help in juggling between these responsibilities better, learning from each other’s experiences on how to overcome personal and professional hurdles in order to pave a way for ambitious young women of AECOM to become better leaders of the future.”
Originally published Mar 7, 2024

Author: AECOM Editors