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Women are driving change at AECOM Africa

Women are driving change at AECOM Africa

 July 18, 2017

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At a time when 31% of South African companies have no female representation in senior leadership roles, it is inspirational to discover that the executive committee at AECOM in Africa has five female members out of thirteen in total.

Rashree Maharaj, the Marketing and Communications Director for AECOM Africa has acknowledged that although the challenges in closing the gender gap remain, there is a strong commitment to promoting and supporting women in Africa.

“We continue to work towards increasing the female presence in the business. However, our efforts have to be seen in the context of progress in an industry, as well as in terms of career paths, that have been associated with, and dominated by, men historically,” explains Maharaj.

With challenges come rewards however, as Rasharee praises Managing Director, Dr Bridget Ssamula and Strategy and Growth Director, Fadzai Nyamasve as inspirational role models in the country.

An inspirational leader

Since joining AECOM in 2016, Maharaj has made a big impact with her impressive leadership skills. Having brought with her a breadth of marketing and communications knowledge, she quickly began to lay the foundations for a successful marketing strategy to support AECOM’s gender diversity principles. This was driven by the diversity and inclusion core values created by Carlos Poñe, Chief Executive for Africa.

“When I began my career at AECOM, I was informed it was an executive position. I found in the past that the word ‘executive’ is used for anyone in senior management. During my first two weeks here, however, I was called into the boardroom to attend the weekly executive committee meeting. It hit home that my role at AECOM was not a position to be taken lightly,” Maharaj exclaims.

Her experience has not gone unnoticed, as she was recently confirmed as one of three trustees of the inaugural AECOM Education Trust. This trust focuses on exceptional female students, role models and leaders who are studying in fields related to AECOM’s broad scope of services and expertise.

Rasharee is excited about what this Trust can achieve:

“I am excited because the three candidates we have selected for 2017 are incredible women who have managed to forge their own paths, and hence it is our privilege to make their lives a little easier for them,” she says.

Achieving your full potential

As a woman who has achieved so much in her career, Maharaja is determined to help women to achieve their dreams like she has:

“It is the responsibility of every parent and teacher to educate, inform and shape the minds of our children to ensure that closing the gender gap on every level, including in the workplace, becomes generational advancement.”

With her leadership, there is no doubt AECOM Africa will continue to move in the right direction when it comes to gender equality.

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