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HKA celebrates International Women’s Day 2021

Happy International Women’s Day! As we celebrate the outstanding achievements of women throughout the world, here at HKA we’re challenging ourselves to do better.

We asked 11 colleagues throughout our global offices to tell us what they #ChooseToChallenge this International Women’s Day, and beyond!

I choose to challenge gender bias and gender roles mentality to provide women with more senior leadership and management roles. The barriers to women in leadership should be broken down. Women can make great leaders just as well.

I choose to challenge unconscious bias at workplace and focus on work performance and merit. Both men and women should have equal opportunities to progress and succeed throughout their careers. Gender or family responsibilities should not be seen as a disadvantage.

I choose to challenge gender bias to promote flexible working and work-life balance for both women and men. This includes enhancing regulation or workplace policies in relation to maternity, paternity, shared parental leave, childcare support and elderly care which will enable working mothers to achieve their career goals as well as fathers to be more involved in the upbringing of the child and childcare duties. Focus should be on results, not clock-times.

Nurul Sabri, Senior Consultant, Middle East

Despite most women experiencing periods, menstrual stigma, misinformation, and lack of access to period products is widespread. As part of IWD, I #ChoosetoChallenge period poverty and the effects this has on gender inequality.

Although progress has been made to reduce the stigma around menstruation and remove the tax on sanitary products, essential items remain a luxury and unaffordable to a large proportion of the female population causing stress and shame. This negatively impacts various aspects of women and girls’ lives from missing education and employment opportunities through to poor health.

To ease the burden on those most vulnerable, I am committing to donating sanitary products to the local collection centre for distribution to those in need so that they are able to live a healthy life with dignity.

Shreya Shah, Senior Consultant, Oceania

I will divide childcare responsibilities with my wife to ensure that we are both active in, and responsible for, meeting our children’s needs. This includes taking time off work to care for our children when they are sick or arranging work commitments to ensure I am available to participate in and help develop their interests. I want to lead by example and show our boys that both Mum and Dad should play an active role in parenting.

Jonathan O’Neill, Senior Consultant, Middle East

I will be true to myself and support myself when others judging me based on women stereotypes. I will also strive to support other people to live their own life, no matter which gender they feel like belonging to. I will always keep in mind that all genders are equal.

Yingnan Chen, Associate Consultant, Asia

I pledge to provide my children, not only with an example of being a dedicated mother, but also that women engineers can succeed and have an impact in the global business community. I will continue to promote female empowerment and diversity in our workforce by mentoring and supporting young female engineers as they develop their careers.

Caryn Fuller, Director, Americas

I #ChooseToChallenge the gender pay gap, which I truthfully did not believe existed to the extent that it does across all forms of employment. After progressing in my career and increasing my exposure to company recruitment and remuneration processes, and seeing the obstacles my partner faced when returning to the work force, it became resoundingly obvious that it is intrinsically part of our work-place society. I believe that great strides have been made to reduce the imbalance, but that we will only see meaningful change if high-profile sectors such as sport, the media and finance advocate and create a level playing field, with our support.

Ben Ripley, Associate Director, Oceania

I challenge our collective image of leadership roles and what a leader looks like.

Roula Harfouche, Partner, Europe

I will drive awareness and promote recognition of ALL female contributions and achievements regardless of whether those achievements impact a board room or a living room. As a champion and ally, I will work to instil a sense of meaningful social responsibility to eradicate the notion that women merely hold supporting roles in society, and celebrate women for being undisputed architects of humanity.

Seyran Celik, Associate Director, Americas

I choose to challenge unconscious bias.

Andrie Fadrick, Managing Consultant, Asia

I choose to challenge gender stereotypes at workplaces that women are perceived as less talented, less competent or less suited for high-pressure leadership roles than their counterparts, in particular in engineering and construction industries.


I will do this by actively providing feedback and encouragement to my peers and team members in pursuing their career goals and call out unprofessional behaviours to disrupt gender bias.

Ada Zou, Senior Consultant, Oceania

I choose to challenge anyone who doesn’t adopt a meritocratic approach to offering opportunities for all. We need to actively seek out talented people, get them into roles that break gender stereotypes and let the world know.

Harry Colledge, Principal, Europe

We hope you’ve been inspired by the commitment of our colleagues throughout the world. HKA is a on a journey to improve our ED&I standing, and make our business a more diverse, equal and inclusive.

Find out more about ED&I at HKA