International Women’s Day

Marlene Kanga

Marlene Kanga
Marlene Kanga

Marlene is a unique and inspiring woman. She has a vision to promote and support women in the engineering profession and has taken action to implement this vision in her own time while also managing a family and busy career.

Marlene is a chemical engineer who is a leader in her profession, having a successful engineering career for the past 25 years, while successfully raising a family. She is also passionately interested in encouraging and supporting young women to take up engineering as a career and spends a great deal of her spare time in volunteer activities to support women.

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Marlene is currently Co-Chair of the International Conference for Women Engineers and Scientists, to be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre in July 2011. This is the first time such a conference will be held in Australia. Marlene bid for this conference via an international process and invited a young engineer to be her Co-Chair – an example of the support and encouragement for young women. The conference is an opportunity to support young women academics by providing the opportunity to present a peer reviewed paper at an international conference as well as forums for discussions on leadership, sustainability and innovation.

Marlene was the Chair of the National Committee for Women in Engineering for 2008-2009 and also ran the Year of Women in Engineering in 2007. This is the first time such a program has been held in the world. The importance of this program was recognised by UNESCO which has included it as a model program to promote the advancement of women in its 2010 World Engineering Report. Her programs to support women have resulted in a 67% growth on corporate membership of Engineers Australia – indicating that young women and being attracted to and remaining in the profession.

Since November 2007, she has been a member of the Council of Engineers Australia (i.e. the Board), the peak body for the engineering profession with more than 93,000 members. This is a volunteer position and she is the only woman on the Board. She has been the National Vice President for Marketing and Communication (2008-2009), the National Vice President for Engineering Practice and Continuing Professional Development (2010) and is currently the National Vice President for Finance (2010+).

In addition to her volunteer work Marlene runs two businesses. She has extensive experience in risk engineering in the oil, gas and chemical and power generation industries. She has also developed new software technology for security camera surveillance as Director of iOmniscient Pty Ltd. This company has implemented its software around the world, with more than 90% of sales being made overseas. The software technology was developed in Australia and has won numerous awards. It won a National Engineering Excellence Award in November 2010.

Marlene was born in India and has lived in Australia for more than 25 years. She is passionate about Australia and is a great story of the contributions that migrants can make to Australian society. Marlene is married with two sons.

Marlene was a finalist in the NSW Woman of the Year awards in 2008 which recognised her efforts in promoting and supporting women in engineering and is a role model for women in the engineering profession.

Story contributed by Marlene Kanga.