On 24th June, in collaboration with Bouygues UK, we hosted a Women in Leadership event, alongside Colas Limited and Equans. This event was not only a testament to the strides made in promoting gender diversity in engineering and leadership but also a powerful call to action for continued progress.

Marking the significance of International Women in Engineering Day, the event brought together industry leaders, visionaries, and aspiring professionals to discuss gender inclusivity in STEM fields.

Pictured: Bouygues UK CEO, Fabienne Viala presents to the audience
Image Credit: Simon Harvey

Fabienne Viala, Chair and CEO of Bouygues UK opened the event with her speech underscoring the importance of diversity and inclusion within the industry. Bouygues UK and its sister companies are proud to have made significant progress in promoting gender diversity, but as noted in Viala’s opening remarks, there remains much work to be done. The presence of women in cross-sector leadership roles has grown, bringing diverse perspectives and innovative solutions to the forefront but we must continue to inspire and support the next generation of women, ensuring they have the opportunities and encouragement to thrive.

Amelle Mestari, Director of Procurement & CSR at Equans UK & Ireland, showcased initiatives that foster inclusivity and support women in engineering across the Bouygues Group, in the UK. The “Girls Believe Academy,” launched by Bouygues UK and Equans in 2021, inspires young women to pursue careers in construction and engineering, reaching thousands of students. The Colas Wellness Programme, addressing period dignity and women’s health, earned the National Highways award for “Outstanding Contribution to Health & Wellbeing.” Colas Rail emphasises the importance of female mentorship for a strong start in the professional world. The Equans “Women in Leadership” programme, launched in 2022 in partnership with Equans’ Women Together network and Manchester Business School, supports women at different career stages. With 87 women enrolled, 20% of the previous cohort received promotions within a year.

Pictured: (from left to right) Colas Ltd’s Rebecca Lapraik and Colas Rail UK’s Grace Falconer stand next to their seen the stories case studies
Image Credit: Simon Harvey

One of the event’s highlights was a presentation by Meg Khan, a London-based photographer, designer, and storyteller. Her project, “Seen the Stories,” delves into the impact of storytelling and visibility in amplifying the voices of marginalised individuals. Khan shared her journey and the inspirations behind her project, emphasising the power of narrative in driving change.

Griselda Togobo, the esteemed guest speaker, provided valuable insights and strategies for thriving in male-dominated industries. Togobo emphasised the necessity of bravery in advancing gender equality and unlocking the full potential of talent in STEM fields. Her passionate advocacy for more women leaders at decision-making tables resonated deeply with the audience.

Pictured: Special guest speaker and female EDI advocate, Griselda Togobo presents to the crowd
Image Credit: Simon Harvey

The event concluded with a networking session, where attendees had the opportunity to connect and share experiences. This was the perfect opportunity to exchange of ideas and fostered a sense of community among the delegates.

As the industry continues to evolve, events like these play a crucial role in inspiring and empowering the next generation of women leaders. We hope that collective efforts of Colas Rail, Bouygues UK, Colas Limited and Equans can serve as an inspiration of hope and progress, promoting the path towards a more inclusive world for the next generation.

Pictured: INWED attendees enjoying the networking segment
Image Credit: Simon Harvey

First published: 27th June 2024