International Women's Day

Monday, March 8, 2021


AIRAH is committed to celebrating and promoting the achievements of women in Australian HVAC&R. We hope you’ll join us – both for International Women’s Day (held annually on March 8) and throughout the year – in our commitment to gender equity in the industry. This is part of our ongoing advocacy work for diversity and inclusion.

Women are under-represented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. AIRAH is committed to bridging the gender gap. We believe that by creating a more diverse team of leaders, we will open doors to unexplored areas and provide new perspectives.


Why should women work in HVAC&R?

Although we have seen increased demand for diverse engineering workforces, enrolment in STEM fields remains predominantly male with less than 20 per cent of engineering graduates identifying as women.

Gender equality in the workplace is associated with improved national productivity and economic growth; increased organisational performance; enhanced ability of companies to attract talent and retain employees; and enhanced organisational reputation.

As an industry, we need to encourage women to pursue opportunities as HVAC&R professionals and practitioners and attract/retain diverse backgrounds and talent in the industry.

"Every day we make somebody’s life a little bit better: we give them fresh air, a comfortable workplace, a cold drink – all the things we take for granted in life. And there are no queues for the ladies at conferences 😊."

Ania Hampton, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
"Just like perfect temperature requires a balance of hot and cold, so too does our industry require a balance of men and women. From a wholesale perspective, our industry has a lot to offer everyone motivated by customer service – helping to problem solve, meeting new people, and embracing new technologies that have a positive impact on sustainability. Women can contribute enormously on all these fronts."

Elizabeth Paparo, Affil.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
"For women – it’s an industry required worldwide, it’s increasingly important and in demand with global warming, and it’s enormously interesting. For industry – it's so we have the widest pool of talent available, and to bring different perspectives."

Ben Adamson, F.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
"It is a challenging yet rewarding career, no matter which path you choose – technical, design, or research. We should all play our part in making the future sustainable. Working in HVAC&R and following good design principles will help us achieve that."

Siti Mustaffa, Affil.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
"Although I don't agree with specifically targeting women and think we need to advertise this industry across the board, I think HVAC&R can provide exceptional job opportunities for women as the market is quite reliable and always starved for great talents. Women who are interested in physics (particularly those who are interested in thermodynamics), have creative minds, and enjoy being challenged quite often would definitely thrive in this field."

Shirin Haghighi, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn)

Women of AIRAH Special Technical Group (STG)

AIRAH members established the Women of AIRAH STG in 2016 to help promote diversity, representation, and inclusion within HVAC&R.

As part of their efforts to discuss the latest issues and trends affecting women in the HVAC&R industry, the Women of AIRAH STG held its first Career Series in November 2020. This free webinar featured conversations on how women are adapting to the COVID-19 impacted environment.

We encourage you to watch the session below:



Information on the next Women of AIRAH STG Career Series will be announced later this year – please stay tuned for details and ways to get involved.

If you would like to get involved with the Women of AIRAH STG, please email stgs@airah.org.au


Board representation

Three of AIRAH’s six board members elected at the 2020 Convention are women, meaning we have achieved gender equity at the election for the first time in the Institute’s 100-year history.

  Liza Taylor, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn)

Liza is the CEO and co-founder of Global IQ Group, a management consulting company specialising in the HVAC&R, sustainability and technology arena. Her specialty is transforming ideas into business growth opportunities.

  Mikaila Ganado, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn

Mikaila is an Associate and part owner at GWA Consultants Australia, based in Sydney. She is a mechanical engineer specialising in whole building energy upgrades and is passionate about improving the energy performance of existing buildings.

  Ura Sarfejoo, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn)

Ura is an experienced sales director with over 18 years’ experience in the technical services industry, servicing clients in the commercial and industrial sectors. She was the founding chair of the Women of AIRAH STG.


For more on AIRAH’s Board of Directors, please click here.


Recent member profiles


Nominate a diversity champion

AIRAH recognises champions of diversity and inclusion at the annual AIRAH Awards.

The Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award recognises and celebrates individuals and organisations that have shown leadership in their efforts, initiatives, policies, programs, and practices to embrace and foster truly inclusive levels of representation within their ranks. Nominees in this category might be acknowledged for efforts such as community service, professional development, hiring practices, and programming activities that enhance opportunities for people of diverse cultures, background, and experiences.

If you know an organisation or individual that may be suitable, please consider nominating them using this form or contact awards@airah.org.au for more information.

The AIRAH Awards 2021 are scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 11 in Sydney.

Our Panel Pledge

As an organisation, we have taken The Panel Pledge to work toward gender balance for AIRAH's conferences and forums.

In 2020, our major annual events featured the following representation of women speakers and panellists:

  • Big Data and Analytics Virtual Forum – 4/13 speakers (31%)
  • Building Physics Forum – 3/11 speakers (27%)
  • Outlook 2020 International HVAC&R Conference – 11/41 speakers (27%)
We appreciate that there is still a lot of work to be done and we will continue striving for diverse representation and inclusion at our events.

If you are interested in getting involved and would like to speak at one of our conferences/forums, please click here for information on available opportunities for 2021.

Recent articles

  • The XX factor (read more)
  • Engineering and defence leaders to talk at IWD 2021 (read more)
  • Female fridgies succeeding in TAFE NSW program (read more)

For more on International Women’s Day, please visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com

You can also join the conversation with us – we’ll be posting throughout the day on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter with the hashtags #IWD2021 and #ChooseToChallenge.