‘Gender isn’t really a barrier’: Top women executives honoured at Western Sydney awards

Women in male-dominated industries like construction, science, engineering and trade industries were the major winners at this year’s Western Sydney Women Awards, now in its third year.Key points:The awards were announced across 12 different industriesEngineer Mai Mai Yeung won the award for STEM Woman of the YearQueenie Tran won the award for Executive Woman of the YearConstruction and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were added to the categories to form a total of 12 awards which were announced in an online ceremony on Tuesday evening.”These are industries that are often forgotten about as well when it comes to women, so we wanted to shine a light on them,” said Amanda Rose, chief executive of Western Sydney Women.”We want to inspire women to choose careers they may not have thought of before and to have role models to look up to.”We also want to recognise industries that have not been given a voice previously.”Other categories included community, performing and creative arts, startup, sporting and small business.Be persistentEngineer Mai Mai Yeung won the award for STEM Woman of the Year.Ms Yeung has been an engineer for 35 years and is currently working on the design of the Western Sydney Airport.She has previously worked in building and transport infrastructure, but her speciality is the design of airfield lighting along the runway. Aerospace engineering student Yasmin Zaman won the Young Woman of the Year award.(Supplied: Western Sydney Women)Ms Yeung’s message to others in her field is to have persistence and to find a mentor and sponsor within the company.”Sometimes women are seen as secondary in men’s eyes, especially in a male-dominated industry,” she said.”How I tackle it? I say, ‘We do as good as yours, and probably better’.”My mental phrase is: ‘Men can do the job and do it, but when women come into engineering they want to do the job — not just that they can’.”Find more local newsImpressed with Western SydneyQueenie Tran, who won the award for Executive Woman of the Year, said she was impressed with the “calibre of women in Western Sydney” who were honoured at the awards.Ms Tran is the chief operating officer for not-for-profit organisation Summer Housing, which helps develop then subsequently lease accessible housing for people with disabilities.”Gender isn’t really a barrier unless you make it one,” she said.”It’s not about who you are, it’s about what you present.”It’s a really inclusive industry from the perspective of wanting to achieve something great.”ABC Sydney was a media partner of the Western Sydney Women’s Awards.

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