Women’s Equality Day

August 26 2021

Women’s Equality Day is recognized in the United States commemorating the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, securing and safeguarding women’s constitutional right to vote. The amendment certification was a major victory in the fight for gender equality.

While it’s often considered one of the most significant accomplishments in the struggle for equality, it’s important to note that women of color were excluded. It was not until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, over 40 years later, that women of color obtained the right to vote. So, Women’s Equality Day was not only organized to celebrate the intermittent successes of the past but also to recognize the ongoing efforts and continuous action needed for a more equal future.

With that in mind, we are using this day to highlight the advancements needed for gender equality and workforce representation in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, 27% of professionals who specialize in the Architecture and Engineering are women. In Construction, this percentage is only 10.9%.1

At Network Rail Consulting, we are committed to improving AEC female and female-identifying representation and elevating women leaders. We’d like to spotlight a quartet of amazing women who share what this day means to them and what drives them to make a difference in the industry.

  • Kate Hiebert, Michael Patrick Consulting, President: “From my experience, women business owners should seek to know their own value. Knowing your value gives you the confidence to reach for tough assignments, the understanding to be open to growth opportunities, and the power to say no to people, ideas, and situations that are not productive.”


  • LaCentra Williams, Network Rail Consulting, Human Resources & Recruitment Manager: “I was raised in a family of majority women, black women specifically. I had the pleasure and pain of hearing their stories of victory and witnessing the aftermath of opportunity exclusions. They relentlessly encouraged me to be confident, proud, and to stand up for what I truly believe in; especially when it comes to matters of equality. Their words, along with the words of many mentors I’ve had, carry me through whenever a roadblock appears. They remind me to always know my worth, seize every opportunity, and never give up!”

    NRC Condensed logo

  • Alice Cheng, Cheng Solutions, President: “I founded Cheng Solutions, LLC in 2007 as a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) and am now proudly certified in multiple states and locales. As a woman business founder, it’s important to me that our firm provide real value to our clients and partners, including NRC, in transport economics, cost-benefit assessments, effective public and governmental coordination, and capital improvement planning.”


  • Candace Stayton, TopSide Solutions, President/Owner: “TopSide Solutions is an operations consulting firm, which I established to help public and private industries through the difficulties of sustainable project optimizations. As a certified WBE, I am proud to be a key leader in our industry focusing on asset management, rail transportation and operational playbook development.”




Network Rail Consulting’s US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group recognizes the work that has been done to secure gender equality, while also acknowledging the work still yet to be done. We stand by our commitment to achieving #GenderParity and will act with integrity to ensure equal rights for all gender identities.