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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, the concept of “building bridges” is important in more ways than one. It’s not just a metaphor; it has real historical and tangible meaning.

This year, we honor some of the remarkable women who have built bridges and paved the way for progress and inclusion. From digital transformation to physical structures, women have played pivotal roles in constructing bridges that unite people all over the world.

Today, we’re celebrating women’s achievements, the progress that has been made toward a world that is equitable and inclusive, and the work that is ongoing to continue that journey.

Building Bridges: Celebrating Women’s Contributions on International Women’s Day 2024

Building Digital Bridges at DriveWorks

At DriveWorks, the concept of bridge building extends to digital bridges that connect teams and businesses in industries all over the world.  DriveWorks Vice President & Co-Founder, Maria Sarkar, has worked in partnership with her DriveWorks Co-Founder, Glen Smith, to build digital bridges that link thousands of teams in hundreds of companies worldwide.

She was encouraged by her Gran to be inquisitive, interested in commerce, and “give yourself choices”. And remembers clearly how the new technology introduced by her Dad at his photo-lithography business heralded a new era for her parents and their staff. Maria is excited to talk about and promote the adoption of new technology, CAD, 3D, and digital transformation, and is a keen advocate of inspiring inclusion and promoting careers in STEM.

The “Ladies’ Bridge” – Women’s contribution to the building of Waterloo Bridge

During World War II, women in the United Kingdom stepped forward to fill vital roles traditionally held by men. Among their many contributions was the construction of the Waterloo Bridge in London. When many of the male construction workers were moved to the docks, women were brought in to work all along the river, including rebuilding Waterloo Bridge. The bridge is referred to by Thames riverboat pilots as the “Ladies’ Bridge” as it’s thought that up to 65% of the construction workers responsible for building it were women. The majority-female workforce wasn’t recognized when the bridge was opened and largely still fails to get recognition today. It’s believed that a combination of wartime censorship and loss of official records resulted in women’s part in building Waterloo Bridge being largely omitted from history.

In 2005, Historic England recognized women’s contribution to the building of Waterloo Bridge with a Grade II re-listing and there is an ongoing campaign, supported by The Women’s Engineering Society (WES), to have a blue plaque installed on the bridge to commemorate the women who built it.

The Woman Who Saved Brooklyn Bridge

The story of Emily Warren Roebling is another bridge-building example of female ingenuity and resilience. As the wife of Chief Engineer Washington Roebling, Emily played a crucial role in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States. When her husband fell ill, Emily stepped in and took on the responsibility of overseeing the bridge’s completion, mastering the complexities of engineering to finish the bridge building.

It took fourteen years to complete the bridge, and her determination and expertise not only helped realize a monumental engineering feat but also shattered stereotypes and helped inspire future generations of women in STEM careers.

How DriveWorks is Inspiring the Next Generation to Bridge the Gap in STEM Recruitment

Education and awareness play vital roles in fostering inclusion and empowering women. Through initiatives such as mentorship programs, educational workshops, and advocacy campaigns, individuals and organizations can create opportunities for women to thrive.

DriveWorks is a company committed to providing opportunities to everyone.

As a company, we are proud to play our part in wider bridge-building action to help reduce the gap in recruitment across STEM industries.

DriveWorks has a long history of supporting young people and fostering inclusion. We consider it to be part of our DNA and we’re pleased to be able to take on the role of an “employer influencer”.

Our support for young people includes:

  • introducing careers into STEM subjects at school
  • work experience placements for Year 10 & 11 students
  • a successful university placement program for students in their 3rd year at university and a graduate employment scheme
  • delivering guest university lectures on careers in engineering and computing
  • a certification program for students to learn about automation

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Want to learn more about inspiring inclusion?

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion.

As was the case for the Ladies’ Bridge female workforce and Emily Warren Roebling, women have previously often found themselves in positions by default, standing in for their male counterparts, rather than being included from the outset.

At 3DEXPERIENCE World 2024, Aneesa Muthana, CEO of Pioneer Services, a women-owned business, delivered a keynote speech on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), which she describes as “empowerment without dividing.”

Aneesa broke done DEI this way:

Diversity: hiring qualified people from varied backgrounds

Equity: fair opportunities and compensation

Inclusion: making everyone feel like they belong

To read more about Aneesa’s inspiring speech, click the link below.

Read the Blog Here