Elise, Book Author and Project Management Coach

Dear Elise, please introduce yourself briefly. 


My name is Elise Stevens. I am passionate about empowering women working in project management to achieve their career goals and improving the gender diversity of the profession. 


We share the passion for advancing women in project management. Why are you committed to this cause in particular? 


From my perspective, women and men are both very capable in delivering great project outcomes. Yet why is profession still not 50/50?

This is what drives me to inspire change within the profession. Project management is a fantastic profession for women. It is important to me to foster this change agenda, to improve gender diversity within the profession.


What are the challenges of women in project management and how can they be tackled? 


From my perspective I think women can face the following challenges with a project management career:


Flexibility in the workplace

Flexible working arrangements is important for both men and women. The Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency published a business case for flexibility in the workplace, in February 2019. One of the points raised in the report is that:

“Family and caring-friendly working policies are likely to boost the number of female employees in the workplace”

For women working in project management, the lack of flexibility within the workplace can be one of the main challenges in career progression.


Self Confidence and Self Promotion

One of the most common challenges I see women face is that of believing in our value and skills as project managers. One of the most frustrating comments I hear is “but I haven’t done anything special” when it is not true.


Unconscious bias within organisations

Even today, unconscious bias exists in some organisations. Overcoming this, can be a challenge.


Returning to the profession after extended leave

Unfortunately, from my observation, some employers do not value women’s skills as a project manager if they have been out of the workforce for a number of years. I find that crazy. No matter the reason for the break, our skills as project managers do not change. Changing people’s mindsets about this issue, can be challenging.


Please tell us more about the initiative #celebratingwomeninprojectmanagement. What have you learned from the community?


I wanted to start an initiative that provided a platform for women to share their insight and celebrate the great achievements. I thought that women’s voices were missing from events, social media and articles. The platform I created would go some way to addressing this imbalance.

I continue to be inspired by the women who share their insight. The things I have learnt from the community is:

  • Being generous is a great way to give back
  • We all have fabulous knowledge and wisdom to share
  • Supporting one another is critical to promoting our achievements 
  • We all have the ability to inspire others