Leah Green

Pockets of progress for women in construction

While there has not been much change in the number of women working in construction trades in recent years, there are significant increases happening in engineering and design roles.

Over the last 10 years, the number of Queensland women in construction engineering roles has more than doubled – growing from 1,300 to around 3,000 female engineers.

This growth means women now account for 9% of the total Queensland construction engineering workforce – significantly higher than the less-than-2% of construction trades occupied by women.

Expectations of ‘a typical engineer’ are changing and more young women are embracing their enjoyment of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at school and university.

If this rate of change continues, it’s highly likely we will start to see a more gender-balanced construction engineering workforce in the future.

Leading infrastructure construction group Lendlease celebrated International Women in Engineering Day this week, reinforcing the company’s commitment to creating a workplace that reflects the diversity of our community.

Lendlease’s delivery of one of Queensland’s newest bridges, the new four-lane Underwood Road overpass, in Brisbane’s South, has been led by its first all-female bridge engineering team.

The team is comprised of Senior Project Engineer Jessica England, Project Engineer Lisa Carne and Site Engineer Luisa Piacere. Design of the bridge was carried out by two female designers from Jacobs – Natalee Davies and Megan Strong.

Jessica won the National Association of Women in Construction Award for Achievement in Construction (Civil works) for her work on the Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade project in 2017.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work in teams that are more diverse and balanced with each new project. I’m looking forward to seeing more women, like Lisa and Luisa, progressing to senior project roles in the future,” Jessica said.

“It is important for young women entering a traditionally male-dominated industry to have strong female role models.

“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to draw on my experiences to be a positive role model for my team.”