International Womens Day 2023
The theme for this years’ International Women’s Day is embracing equity; gender equity encompasses more than just equality.
At Saab, we are dedicated to creating a workplace that is equitable, diverse and inclusive. We recognise that embracing equity means celebrating the unique contributions that we each bring to work every day.
Meet Nadine, Caroline and Vanessa who tell us a little bit about their career journeys and what equity means to them:
NADINE: “I am a Change Manager at Saab Australia and I have been working here for a little over a year. This was a newly created role as the business recognised the need to increase their focus on the people aspects of significant change within the business, which for a rapidly growing organisation is quite broad and deep.
My career has organically evolved over the years, with little to no planning on my behalf (don’t recommend you try that at home!), which has meant that I have had an incredibly diverse career. I started in administration before moving in to recruitment, general HR, then capability before diving head first into business improvement, logistics, manufacturing, project management and ultimately change management, so really a bit of everything! I have worked in retail, non-for-profit, manufacturing, software development and now defence.”
CAROLINE: “I am a Project Manager in Saab Australia's Maritime division and have been in the defence industry for over 10 years, working as an engineer and project manager in Australia and abroad in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, civil security, maritime and more.
My experience lies in managing the lifecycle of products and services, from concept through to delivery and disposal, in information and communication technology, infrastructure, and software and hardware systems integrations, and more recently, combat management systems.
It’s very rewarding to be a part of projects that have strengthened industry capability via technology and knowledge transfer.”
VANESSA: “I am a Program Manager in Saab Australia's Land and Aerospace division and have been working at here for 24 years.
Over my time at Saab I’ve worked on land, maritime and submarine projects, covering a mix of acquisition, support and R&D projects.”
To me, gender equity means…
NADINE: “The absence of bias, either conscious or unconscious. It means equal pay, equal opportunity, equal expectation and equal expectations.
We (women) need to stop preaching to the converted. Morning teas, lunches and events run by women, for women is great, but we need these events to be run by men and, presented by men so they can lead other men to support gender equality transformation. Talking to ourselves is not really a game changer, leveraging men who understand equality, men who are feminists, and men who have a genuine desire for gender equality should be encouraged, supported and enabled to drive the conversation and initiate actions to drive change. There are a lot of men who not only support gender equality but promote it openly. Let’s harness that.”
CAROLINE: “It’s fairness and respect for each other, recognising that each of us is unique, we each think differently, we contribute and add value in different ways. Each person should be measured and recognised based on merit and contributions.
It means equal pay for equal work; education and awareness of unconscious bias; female role models in leadership roles; and diversity on hiring panels. It also requires leaders to ensure that hires, appointments and awards are merit-based.”
VANESSA: “Being aware of our inherent biases and checking them before we act. It means working to eliminate any barriers to participation for anyone, regardless of gender. As a female in a male-dominated industry this also means being visible to others who might want to follow a similar path.
To truly reach gender equality it’s important that we recognising our own biases and learn to set them aside as much as possible. Also, the reality is that most care roles/duties fall to women (but increasingly men too) so we need to make sure that we offer flexibility to make roles as attractive and workable for families and those with other carer responsibilities as possible – by offering flexibility that includes options such as working part-time, working from home, etc.”
So how do we get there?
NADINE: “My advice to women starting out in their careers is to ensure you sit at the table, expect the same level of attention and voice as everyone else in the room. Remove your own unconscious bias about your contribution and place in the organisation as a priority. Say yes to opportunity and figure out the how later.”
CAROLINE: “Be patient and pace yourself because everything takes time and dedication. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow so create and harness opportunities; shape and build your career.”
VANESSA: “Build your networks, build each other up and support each other whether that’s within your friendship group, your company or your industry – it all helps.”