Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

The Second National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights


Dr Sue Lewis
Director, National Centre for Gender and Cultural Diversity, Swinburne University of Technology

Engineering a Better Workplace: A Diversity Challenge for the Engineering Profession

The engineering profession has traditionally been seen as slow to change and embrace 'new paradigm' management styles and practices which has impacted on the capacity of the profession to create inclusive workplace cultures. This paper starts with a discussion of the history and theoretical challenges for diversity initiatives in the engineering profession and outlines the understandings and philosophy that led to the development of this new resource. The paper then moves on to a brief discussion of the manual itself, and concludes by asking what diversity management thinking and strategies might offer the engineering profession.

In 2000, the National Centre for Gender and Cultural Diversity at Swinburne University of Technology was invited to produce a 'diversity manual' for engineers, engineering supervisors and policy makers that would present new strategies for bringing about an increase in the participation and progression of women and culturally diverse engineers in engineering education and employment.

The resulting manual, Engineering a Better Workplace (Sue Lewis, Ros Harris and Barbara Cox) draws on the philosophy and practice of managing diversity to present practical strategies that move beyond traditional affirmative action approaches. The strategies are highly relevant to engineering academics and managers interested in diversifying their work and study places.

The manual draws on the efforts, frustrations and successes of those who have been working for many years toward a better engineering workplace. Learning from the past, we did not write the manual for those who are happy with the status quo. It is a manual written for those people committed to diversifying the engineering profession.

To follow

Presentation Type
30 min. Paper

Equipment Requirements:


Deakin Woolstores Campus, Geelong Waterfront
30 November - 1 December 2001