In a recent infrastructure-focused gathering held in Jakarta Indonesia, Karen Atkinson, SMEC Executive Director Dams & Hydropower, led discussions in a workshop focusing on empowering women in leadership roles and integrating gender perspectives into infrastructure development.

The workshop, organised with the support of Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I), brought together over 80 participants from Australia, The ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Member States, Timor-Leste and private sector stakeholders. The gathering served as a pivotal platform for engaging dialogues on fostering women’s leadership and mainstreaming gender considerations in advancing ASEAN’s sustainable infrastructure and connectivity goals.


During the event, attendees delved into effective policy strategies, shared inspiring narratives of female leaders in the infrastructure sector, and explored practical tools and case studies to enhance women’s involvement and leadership in building inclusive and sustainable infrastructure.

“We are thrilled to have facilitated connections among ASEAN, Australian and regional decision-makers, driving forward the agenda for women’s leadership in infrastructure,” said Karen.



Embracing the diverse perspectives, expertise and experiences of women is paramount in crafting infrastructure solutions that are truly inclusive and resilient.
———— Karen Atkinson, SMEC Executive Director Dams & Hydropower

The workshop’s success highlights a growing recognition of the need to address gender disparities in infrastructure and signals a concerted effort towards achieving greater gender equality in the sector. As stakeholders continue to collaborate and drive forward the agenda for women’s leadership in infrastructure, the industry moves closer to realising its full potential as a catalyst for positive change.

SMEC is committed to fostering Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) within its ranks and the broader infrastructure sector. Through initiatives such as mentorship programs, diversity training and inclusive hiring practices, SMEC is dedicated to creating an environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds are empowered to contribute their talents towards building a more equitable future.