Celebrating International Women’s Day

We spoke to some of our colleagues in our engineering and consultancy business: Julie Carrier, High Speed Programme Director; Rosario Barcena, High Speed Rail Project Director; Emily Swann, a consultant working in our transport planning sector; and Denise Faber, an associate in our passenger transport sector. Their messages are confident and inspiring to everyone, and highlight the importance of days like International Women’s Day to take a moment to reflect on past achievements and look to the future to inspire generations to come.

Why is International Women’s Day important in the 21st Century?

Julie: It’s important because we still have work to do to change people’s attitudes towards women. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the contribution women make, while recognising the role that men play in supporting us to succeed.

Rosario: It’s important because there is still a lot of gender inequality out there that we somehow need to eliminate.

Emily: It's important to remember the hardship the Suffragettes went through to provide future generations with a better world in which we are fortunate to live today, and to continue to drive these changes throughout the developing world to eradicate inequality completely.

Denise: Unfortunately, there are still examples of women being treated as inferior to men. It is important to remember this and continue to fight for equality.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Julie: A chance to be proud of what I have achieved in my career. A chance to reflect on the women who have inspired me (thanks, mum!). A chance to remember the importance of making time to support others.

Rosario: It’s a day to raise awareness of how much women have achieved and to demonstrate to the world that women can do everything that men do. 

Emily: To me, International Women's Day is a celebration of working together to create a positive and equal society where everyone feels valued and respected. 

Denise: As someone who is lucky to be treated as an equal to my fellow male colleagues, it is a time for me to reflect on my own journey and a reminder to instil my values of equality in others.

How will you #BeBoldForChange?

Julie: Continue being me – challenge professionally, recognising that some people don’t understand how undermining certain language and actions can be.

Rosario: As a STEM Ambassador, I’m working with schools to encourage more girls into technical education and careers.

Emily: I'll celebrate women's achievements through raising awareness and celebrating the work undertaken by my female colleagues within Transport Planning.

Denise: Continue to inspire others to achieve their potential regardless of gender.

As an engineer/transport planner what would you say to female students considering a technical career path?

Julie: Go for it! My career has been varied, motivating and above all fun. Now is the perfect time – so many people (men and women) genuinely want to support more people in the field. There really has never been a better time to #BeBoldForChange and go for it.

Rosario: Go for it. Engineering is not the stereotyped boring, dirty and male-dominated working environment. Engineering is fun with the biggest projects in the UK being delivered by women (e.g. Michèle Dix CBE @ Crossrail 2, Alison Munro @ HS2).

Emily: As a Transport Planner, I would advise female students thinking of a career in a technical field to visualise where you want to be in future years, grab the opportunity and work as hard as you possibly can to achieve your greatest potential.

Denise: What is stopping you? The world is evolving and needs enthusiastic young people to help shape the future of transport. The role is not gender specific; the number and range of roles and positions held by women in SYSTRA is testament to this.

What makes SYSTRA a great place to work for women?

Julie: In Engineering, particularly the High Speed Rail Product Line, it’s a naturally diverse company as we work as one team across the world. Plus I run the High Speed UK team, so we lead by example! Steve Higham (our UK Engineering MD) is very committed to getting more women in his team, and the opportunities are amazing!

Rosario: SYSTRA promotes talent without looking at gender, and takes equality and diversity very seriously. Also, SYSTRA is a world leader in transport infrastructure and is involved in the most challenging and exciting jobs in the world. This combination makes SYSTRA a great place to work for everyone, not just women.

Emily: SYSTRA is a company where women are respected and valued, and importantly provided the same work opportunities as men to progress and develop their careers.

Denise: The same reason it is a great place to work for men! It is an all-inclusive company offering everyone the same level of opportunity and support regardless of age, nationality, race or gender. The opportunities, variety of work, flexibility and values make it a great company to build a career with.

What’s your message on International Women’s Day?

Julie: Having a more gender-balanced team makes the workplace better for everyone. This isn’t about replacing men; at SYSTRA we want to be the best and IWD gives us an opportunity to celebrate the contribution women provide to our business.

Rosario: Believe in yourself and go for it, you can do anything, #BeBoldForChange

Emily: My message is to visualise your goals and go for it.

Denise: Be a positive role model in how you act and how you treat others. By inspiring the younger generations, we can help effect change.


Written by: Sian Fox, contributions from Julie Carrier, Rosario Barcena, Emily Swann and Denise Faber