L-R : Megan Walker, Mary Anne McGirr, Cathryn Drew-Bredin and Lynne Hancock

DesignInc embarked on a journey in 2015 to increase female representation across all levels within the company. We now proudly buck the industry trend in architecture with a 50:50 gender ratio and the appointment of highly skilled and talented women to senior leadership roles.

The architecture is renowned for being a male-dominated industry, with disproportional representation of women in architecture and even more so in senior management positions. DesignInc is at the forefront of closing this gap, employing an equal ratio of men and women and promoting women to director and principal positions.

Cathryn Drew-Bredin and Mary Anne McGirr have recently been appointed Directors of DesignInc, managing the Transport department, which has grown significantly over the last year. Cathryn oversees the aviation team, and Mary Anne oversees the Rail and Roads teams. Megan Walker  has been promoted to Principal – Transport, and Lynne Hancock has joined DesignInc as Principal Urban Designer.

Cathryn, Mary Anne, Megan and Lynne serve as excellent role models and mentors to the female (and male) architects within DesignInc. We proudly have a 50/50 gender balance across all levels of the practice, including architects, designers, architecture graduates, architecture students and support staff.

“We always look for the best person for the job and the best fit for the company, and employing and promoting women happens naturally,” says Tara Keast, Human Resources Manager, DesignInc. “Women bring a fresh and diverse perspective to leadership, practice and the industry. We can already see a shift across DesignInc and look forward to what the future brings.”

The status quo of the male-dominated industry can make architecture a challenging profession for women who have, or want to have children. DesignInc’s Flex@DI program supports these women during maternity leave and on their return to the workforce. Part-time hours, flexible hours, job sharing and working-from-home arrangements helps our female employees balance their personal and professional lives, as it does for all our employees, with children or not.

DesignInc is working hard to make change across the architecture and construction industries. We are a member of Male Champions of Change, which advocates for significant and sustainable improvement in the low levels of women in leadership. The Architect Male Champions of Change group proactively addresses this issue, sharing information and ideas and encouraging companies to make a change.

DesignInc is also a member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and funds the membership of all directors and female senior staff. NAWIC provides a forum for its members to meet and exchange information, ideas and solutions to help champion and empower women in the construction and related industries.

“It’s important to celebrate advances in gender equality because we still have a long way to go. Women contribute to the architecture and construction industries in so many valuable ways and much more now than they used to be able to.” – Megan Walker.