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For project management and beyond

Adeline Teoh ed.
March 12, 2012

International Women’s Day reminds us that women hold up half the sky–and that the girls of the future may just need to wear spacesuits on their stratospheric rise.

Last week we celebrated International Women’s Day, marking more than a 100 years of the women’s rights movement that began when a group of women in New York decided they’d had enough of being exploited and marched through the streets in protest. The year? 1908.

This year, the International Women’s Day website has nominated ‘Connecting girls, inspiring futures’ as its theme. Although girls in many countries around the world still struggle to be recognised for their potential, in Australia girls are leading the way in many areas. They are excelling academically and they are becoming business owners, top scientists and even heads of government.

And yet there’s a disconnect. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Victorian & Tasmanian chapter will be hosting an International Women’s Day forum to discover what positive and negative influences women encounter prior to entering the construction/engineering industry, how working in the sector affects them, and the contributing factors to their attrition or retention. Project managers might also seek the same answers.

The truth is, there aren’t enough project managers to shape our future and we need as many people—male or female—on board before the Baby Boomers retire to ensure that the discipline remains at a sustainable level.

We will also need to take into account the evolution of project management in that picture of the future: in our recent survey on Professional Project Management, more than two-thirds of you stated that minimum education standards should be applied before people can become project managers, with a large number nominating diploma level as the preferred standard.

But the path to project management begins a lot earlier than at the decision point on which tertiary education course to take. First we need to raise awareness of project management at an earlier stage, and this is where an initiative such as ‘Connecting girls, inspiring futures’ can help. Then we need a champion like Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng, who started a movement to encourage more female students into engineering roles via her organisation Robogals.

And then? The sky’s the limit. This is not just about encouraging women in project management. This is for project management and beyond.

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Adeline Teoh ed.
Adeline Teoh is the editor of ProjectManager.com.au. She has more than a decade of publishing experience in the fields of business and education, and has specialised in writing about project management since 2007.
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