Rubicon Associates participates in industry events addressing gender equality in STEM environments


Marking International Women’s Day, and it being the focal point of ongoing industry efforts for gender equality, Rubicon Associates participated in a range of events this week with attendance at BAE Systems Australia, Engineering Australia, and Women’s Defence Connection events.

Systemic changes are needed to address gender bias 

Rubicon Associates team members attended BAE Systems Australia’s “Insights Lunch Series – Understanding Gendered Experiences of Engineering” on Tuesday 5thMarch 2024, Stamford Plaza Melbourne, as guest panellists.

The purpose of the event was to foster an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that come with gender diversity in engineering roles, recognising that through stories and advice, this sharing of lived experiences has the potential to change mindsets, behaviours and action. It also served the purpose of supporting BAE’s senior male engineers to be comfortable and proactive about addressing gender discrimination in the workplace.

This invitational lunch brought together BAE Systems’ employees and leaders in the engineering sector, as well as students and professionals interested in the subject. It served as a platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas for creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women engineers.

Discussions highlighted the importance of role models and mentorship programs to inspire and support women pursuing careers and leadership positions in STEM. The event addressed the need for systemic changes within organisations to address gender bias and develop a culture that values and leverages the strengths of a diverse team.

The session with Madeleine Burchill (Group Leader Naval Platform Survivability at Defence Science and Technology) was an eye-opener for many, as it encouraged open dialogue among guest panellists about the professional hurdles faced by women in a predominantly male industry. The approach taken by Burchill was particularly praised for its ability to foster honest storytelling and shared experiences.

The “Insights Lunch Series” is part of BAE Systems’ broader commitment to diversity and inclusion, aiming to encourage more young women to consider a career in engineering and to support them throughout their professional journey. 

Highlights from the events and insights

At Engineering Australia’s International Women’s Day Lunch, held on Wednesday 6th March, Jamila Gordon’s (CEO and Founder of Lumachain) personal journey resonated deeply with attendees, highlighting her unwavering determination to realize her ambitions. 

Her story served as a powerful endorsement for the inclusion of women in leadership roles across all sectors, emphasizing the significant role that connections and networking played in her career.

On Friday 8th March, Women’s Defence Connection held a Women’s Day Lunch in Melbourne, Natalie Waldie (Program Manager at BAE Systems Australia) told of the opportunities her grandmother and mother missed despite their education. Her aspiration to be a role model for her daughters underscored the generational shift in opportunities for women and the importance of achieving more progress.

The Way Forward for Rubicon Associates:

These events espoused the tangible benefits of diversity and inclusion, such as enhanced productivity, creativity, and business growth. While the discussions around flexible hours and work-from-home arrangements were noted, it was also recognising their potential points of contention with existing company policies.

Inspired by these events, a commitment was made to continue mentoring the younger generation and to advocate for STEM education through Engineers Australia and women’s organizations. 

In summary, the collective, and often poignant, experiences shared at these events serve as a catalyst for Rubicon Associates and its team members in their continued efforts towards gender equality and the empowerment of women within the engineering community. 

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