Huffington Post article “A female leadership at WFEO”

Huffington Post article 'A female leadership at WFEO'

WFEO President Marlene Kanga at the WEF 2017


See below the article “A female leadership at WFEO” on WFEO President Dr. Marlene Kanga published in Huffington Post Italia website in January 2018.



From November 26 to December 2, in the week in which Rome hosted the WEF 2017, the World Engineering Forum and the WFEO Assembly, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, the ambassador of Australia in Rome, Greg French invited some of the participants in the 2017 Forum to applaud the election of an Australian engineer, Marlene Kanga, to the WFEO Presidency, an international organization recognized by UNESCO that associates more than 90 professional associations and engineering institutions and representing more than 20 million engineers and engineers.

A prestigious position at the top of a brilliant career spanning more than thirty years in the oil and gas industry. President in 2013 of Engineers Australia, non-executive director of the largest water utility in the country, a member of many boards in the fields of innovation, new technologies and artificial intelligence has recently been included among the top 100 most influential women of Australia and among the first 100 engineers of his country.

The event organized at the official residence of the Australian ambassador was attended by, among others, members of Aidia , the Italian Association of Women Engineers and Architects and representatives of the CNI (National Council of Engineers) architects of the choice of Rome as host site of the WEF 2017, a prestige that almost resembles becoming the venue for the Olympic Games, thanks to an intense activity of international relations and participation in technical tables around the world.


…the essential role of engineering in the realization of many of the Sustainable Development Goals, because it is the inherent mission of this profession to elaborate specific projects and solutions for each country or region of the world, for the safeguard of our planet.


During the meeting the new President, anticipating the highlights of the WFEO 2030 Action Plan, which puts the pilot project in first place to fill the gap that still exists in the number of engineering graduates and those who do this profession in the world , has claimed the essential role of engineering in the realization of many of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), indicated in the UN Agenda 2030 , because it is the intrinsic mission of this profession to elaborate specific projects and solutions for every country or region of the world, for the safeguard of our planet.

Objectives highlighted and summarized in the title of the 2017 Forum: “Safeguarding the heritage of humanity: a challenge for engineering”. A common thread that connected the issues faced during the course of the works, emphasizing the decisive role of engineering capable of outlining new development models and offering smart technological solutions capable of reconciling progress, the environment and the protection of the common heritage.

“Environmental sustainability has become a priority” – said Carlo Garganico , CEO of Italferr, an engineering company of Railways – “so that citizens can meet after the construction of works and works, a territory better than they had”. There is a constant search for the right balance between business and quality of life, between economic interests and social consequences that calls into question “an ethical dimension on which” – emphasized Zambrano , President of the CNI – “there is still much to do”.

The various sessions on the topic were enriched by contributions from speakers, scholars, academics or entrepreneurs who took part in illustrating the results of research such as Prof. Vestroni on how to preserve the Colosseum or Prof. Conghong Liu who spoke about the green technologies used in prevention and the renovation of the many historic buildings in the Chinese city of Tianjin. Other topics were also treated, such as preserving urban spaces and creating resilient infrastructures, tackling climate change, preventing and managing hydrogeological risk and safeguarding cultural heritage.

There is no doubt that the scenario of world engineering with a woman at the top sends today’s girls and boys an innovative and non-stereotyped message that unfortunately strides with an Italian conservative reality that has, recorded progress from the 80s to today in the issue of the engineering graduates who grew from 4% to the current 30%, but who sees the top positions of the CNI composed of 15 members and a single woman, Ania Lopez.

A solitude compensated by activism and skill that makes her the only Italian woman in the WFEO’s Standing Technical Committee Women in Engineering chaired by the Nigerian Valerie Agberagba and who is responsible for achieving the objective 5 of the UN 2030 Plan, aimed at closing the gap gender between boys and girls. Created “Ingenio to women”, who for some years has rewarded women who leave their mark and is joined in his efforts by ‘ AIDIA , the Italian Association of Women Engineers and Architects that this year celebrates 60 years “with the mission” – highlights the President Arch. Lucia Krasovec – “to enhance and bring out women at the top levels and fill the gap with men”. Another association of women to witness the now unstoppable, slow but continuous march.

At its birth, AIDIA declined to the feminine: the Italian Association of Women Engineers and Architects, a distinctive genre lost in the years to which we would have to go back to point out the different identity of women.


Courtesy of Huffington Post Italia.

Acknowledgements to the staff of Australia’s ambassador to Italy Dr. Greg French, who organised the event.


For more information:

  The original Huffington Post article (versione italiana)

  WEF 2017 website

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