A tun­nel vi­sion of di­ver­sity

Min­is­ter’s plan to hire more women

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - MI­RANDA WOOD

THE state’s first fe­male roads min­is­ter wants to build up the num­ber of women at the male-dom­i­nated Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices.

Melinda Pavey has set an am­bi­tious tar­get to cre­ate a 50-50 work­force by 2025, a bold goal the min­is­ter said she would give “a red­hot go”.

“We want that bal­ance in the work­force to cre­ate the best tun­nels and the best in­fra­struc­ture that we can have,” Ms Pavey said. “This is a great place to work, to have a life­style and to raise a good fam­ily.”

Nearly one-third of the 6300 work­ers at the RMS are women, while only 29 per cent hold se­nior po­si­tions.

But, de­spite Ms Pavey’s tun­nel vi­sion for gen­der equal­ity, she ruled out mak­ing a for­mal quota.

“In terms of the quota, we have to recog­nise that we have to re­spect the tax­payer first and fore­most and we don’t want to be in a sit­u­a­tion where we have a re­stricted quota put on us that ac­tu­ally lim­its our abil­ity to get the job done,” she said.

NSW is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an un­prece­dented roads boom with ma­jor projects in­clud­ing WestCon­nex and NorthCon­nex help­ing drive a jobs bo­nanza.

The state govern­ment is also pre­par­ing to build the Western Har­bour Tun­nel and Beaches Link, the F6 ex­ten­sion in south­ern Syd­ney and a new road net­work to Western Syd­ney Air­port at Badgerys Creek.

RMS Peo­ple and Cul­ture direc­tor Trudi Mares said the agency was also driv­ing a new re­cruit­ment pro­gram to en­sure women rep­re­sented 50 per cent of road work­ers in re­gional NSW.

“A par­tic­u­lar fo­cus over the next year is on women in non-tra­di­tional roles and de­vel­op­ing part­ner­ships with vo­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and through our en­try level tal­ent pro- grams to bring women into these non-tra­di­tional roles,” she said.

RMS se­nior project man­ager and en­gi­neer Yvonne Bowles, who works on the Pa­cific High­way up­grade in north­ern NSW, said the fe­male work­force would be bol­stered by tar­get­ing teenage girls at high school. “You need to get in early so that they ac­tu­ally choose en­gi­neer­ing as a sub­ject and they know that it’s pos­si­ble,” she said.

“I go to work for the fact we’re sav­ing lives by build­ing up­grades — I like the ma­jor projects.”

WestCon­nex project en­gi­neer Su­sana Jimenez, one of only five women on the team, said work­ing on road projects bucked stereo­types. “It’s plan­ning, it’s work­ing in teams and it’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well — women are great at that,” she said.

“It’s a ca­reer that any­one can do, male or fe­male.”

Roads work­ers Yvonne Bowles, Su­sana Jimenez, Kirsty Booth and Monika Hold­en­berg with Roads Min­is­ter Melinda Pavey. Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.