Celebrating International Womens Day 2023 - Ethos Embraces Equity

08 Mar 23
In light of the 2023 International Women’s Day theme: Embrace Equity, Ethos celebrates what it means to truly embrace equity within our business. 

According to Engineering UK, women make up 16.5 percent of all engineers globally as of March 2022. In Ireland, just 12 percent of engineers are women in a statistic from March 2022 released by Engineers Ireland. 

At Ethos, we are proud to not only have doubled our female staff within the last year, but also to report that 20% of our workforce currently are women, putting us above the average both nationally and internationally. 

Alison Heffernan, Head of People & Talent at Ethos, said 2022 has seen significant growth at Ethos, and proudly an important increase in female representation across Ethos.  

“Over 60% of our females are in engineering and technical roles, and 17% of our females have supervisory and management responsibilities,” she says. “At a senior management level, 20% are female, exemplifying significant transformation at Ethos in less than two years.” 

The International Women’s Day Organisation states that this year’s theme describes equality as the goal, and equity is the means to get there.  

What is the difference between equality and equity? Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

So how does Ethos ensure equality by embracing equity for our female team members? 

Ethos takes a holistic approach to supporting our people, providing resources and opportunities that embrace every circumstance. 

With our opportunities in learning and development, hybrid and flexible working and prioritisation of health and wellbeing from the start, along with benefits that support our people in every facet and stage of their life. 

“When I joined Ethos in 2018, I was one of four female engineers and there were just eight women total in the company. In 2019, we had 10 percent women in the workforce, but since then those numbers have jumped hugely,” Róisín O’Doherty, Senior Engineer – Mechanical on from Ethos Urbanism Team, said. “In 2023, we've got 4 women in my group alone and loads more across the company. We have come such a long way and will only continue to grow in diversity.” 

Róisín said she also appreciates how much support she has received since joining Ethos, especially as one of the first few women in the company. 

“I really appreciate how Ethos nurtures its staff at every level of their career. From starting out here as an intern to now progressing into my current role, I can say how impressive it is that the team really cares about how they can best support me in both my professional and personal goals.” 

From a leadership perspective, Ethos is privileged to have several women leaders who have guided the company through some true milestones. 

Susan Cormican, Group Director of Ethos Urbanism, celebrates 7 years with Ethos in April, and has spent decades in a career sector that is historically dominated by men.  

“After 30 years in the industry, my proudest accomplishment is the part I have tried to play in encouraging women into the engineering profession and supporting them as much as I can through their career,” Susan said. “I think women add a balance that was lacking in the past and the industry is becoming a better place to work due, in part, to a better gender mix.” 

Another notable leader in Ethos is Müge Karasahin, Group Director of Ethos Sustainability, who joined Ethos in 2021 and has made a huge impact. Müge lead Ethos’ efforts in achieving the World’s First WELL Performance Rating – a huge accomplishment for not only Ethos, but for the wellbeing and digital sectors in engineering, especially in Ireland. 

“Ethos embraces equity through horizontal accessibility to all levels of careers. If a team member wants to learn and progress, Ethos provides the tools and support necessary to achieve their goals,” Müge said. “I am happy to have achieved the WELL Performance Rating, which was supported by the executive team from the very beginning.” 

Like Müge, many other women have led projects in Ethos, many achieving national and international recognition for their contributions and phenomenal work. 

Andricke Smith, a Senior Project Engineer – Electrical, just relocated to Ireland from South Africa and said she appreciates how Ethos has supported her in this transition.  

“I am delighted to have made the move over and Ethos has provided me with every support needed to do so,” Andricke said. “To me, this represents this year’s theme of embracing equity.” 

Over 50 percent of our females are of non-Irish heritage, creating awareness and providing Ethos with diverse insights that ultimately deliver better solutions, greater innovation and wider skill sets for our organisation. 

“It has been amazing to have had the leading role in recruiting for a more diverse workforce,” Dayana Queiroz, Talent Acquisition Lead, said. “I am from Brazil, so being from a diverse background myself and knowing what that experience is like as a woman emigrating to Ireland, I have found Ethos to be an incredibly welcoming organisation.” 

Another way Ethos embraces equity is through providing access to the engineer career path in early education to children. This is done through the Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme, a non-profit outreach programme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to students in all communities. 

Through this, Ethos brings engineering to the level of the child’s education, meeting them where they are at and appealing to their interests through engineering. 

Andrea van Eeden, Senior Engineer – Mechanical on Ethos Urbanism Team, said she is looking forward to leading the STEPS Programme at a local all-girls school on this International Women’s Day. 

“It is so rewarding to be able to share my love for engineering with a younger generation of girls, who will hopefully be inspired to take an interest in engineering as a future career,” Andrea said. “And what a phenomenal way to celebrate International Women’s Day.” 

Catherine O’Brien, Accounts Department, has been with Ethos for nearly 9 years. She has watched Ethos Women grow so much in numbers over the last few years. 

“It has been such a joy to see the progress we have made in Ethos in terms of inclusion and opportunities for all people, especially with our female team members,” Catherine said. 

Alison said she believes diversity is not limited to gender, but reaches across diversity of experience, thought, skills and background.  

“International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to not just talk the talk but highlight the inclusion and equality that is felt by our people, especially females,” Alison said. “While some view diversity as being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance at the party.” 

Happy International Womens Day from all of us at Ethos.