WEP agenda celebrates diversity, champions of inclusion and empowers women to participate fully in the economy
SNC-Lavalin’s Middle East Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Business Network has signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (UN WEPs). According to a statement, the move is in line with its commitment to ‘foster an inclusive culture that promotes gender equality and supports employees’ professional development, skills and knowledge throughout their career’.
The signing ceremony took place in Dubai during a networking event held by SNC-Lavalin. Clients and other industry entities that also signed the UN WEPs were in attendance including Parsons, SSH, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and BAM International.
Alice Laugher, a board member of the United Nations Global Compact UAE Network, chair of its WEPs taskforce and CEO of Committed to Good also attended the event. Laugher is said to have hosted a panel to discuss ways to advance women’s empowerment in the industry across the region, and shared key learnings and commitments made in organisations. The panel discussion was moderated by Nicole Malick, a sustainability consultant and an expert in UN WEPs toolkit, and included senior leadership from SNC-Lavalin, Jacobs, Parsons and SSH.
“In today’s market, a diverse workforce is a key driver to boosting productivity and innovation in the construction industry. Signing the UN WEPs underpins SNC-Lavalin’s long-term commitment to supporting gender equality and empowering women at all levels across the organisation. By bringing together industry players to share key learnings, we are not only raising awareness about women’s empowerment but also leading the way to create rewarding career opportunities and future growth for female talent across the region,” said Grant Porter, CEO, Engineering, Design and Project Management, Middle East and Africa at SNC-Lavalin, and Chairman of the company’s Middle East Diversity and Inclusion Network.
According to a statement from SNC-Lavalin, the firm launched its diversity and inclusion program globally in 2016. The programme aims to increase the percentage of women in technical and management positions to 20% by 2020, up from 14%. Following the acquisition of Atkins, SNC-Lavalin’s NISA initiative merged with Atkins’ Women’s Business Network and became the D&I Business Network in February 2019. The network focuses on driving the company’s diversity and inclusion targets and leading on proactive employee and local community engagement initiatives, trainings and awareness campaigns.
“The Women’s Empowerment Principles agenda celebrates diversity, champions of inclusion, and empowers women to participate fully in the economy. All businesses stand to benefit from gender equality and women’s empowerment. I spend a lot of my time working to empower women across the globe, specifically in developing countries and what I’ve learnt is if you want to create meaningful change, then you need to be doing as much as you can to create it. Support for the seven WEPs Principles has gathered global momentum – thousands of companies worldwide are now WEPs champions – thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 5 for Gender Equality,” said Laugher.