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As part of our #InspireInclusion series this Women's History Month, Hitachi Rail Australia’s Josh O’Sullivan shares his vision for the world he wants his daughter to grow up in.

Imogen Rose O’Sullivan was born on 25 September 2023, so in the same month that people around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day, my wife Amy and I will be celebrating six months with Imogen in our world.

Parenthood, in general, puts a fresh perspective on many things but being a father to a girl, and being asked to write this article, has challenged me to look at the world through my little girl’s eyes.

What kind of world do I want Imogen to grow up in? More importantly, what kind of world will she want to grow up in? It’s a little too soon for Imogen to answer that question for herself, so I will do my best to put myself in her booties and answer it for you.

"We are asking ourselves already: how do we work and parent, and do them both well?"

Equality, Choices and Opportunities

It should go without saying that I want Imogen to be healthy, safe, happy and most of all loved. I do. She is and will be surrounded by family and friends who love and adore her, and who are devoted to helping her navigate her way through life and find her own unique place in the world.

What I also want for Imogen is for her to experience equality in her life and work. I want her to be instilled with the belief and confidence that she can be whatever she wants to be. A teacher or a tech whizz; an architect or an artist; an engineer or an environmental scientist!

There has been a real shift in my lifetime with respect to society’s views on what women can (or can’t) do in terms of their education and career choices. We no longer think in terms of traditional and non-traditional roles and that’s a good thing.

If I look at the rail industry as an example, when I started as an apprentice 24 years ago, there weren’t any girls doing an apprenticeship, there weren’t many women in technical roles or in leadership positions. Now, in my role as Principal Sales Manager – Queensland for Hitachi Rail, I attend rail industry events where I see more and more women every time.

Inclusion and diversity are the big buzz words, but it’s real – today’s rail industry is more inclusive and diverse. I see opportunities that are available for women that encompass the full gamut of careers in rail from the trade and technical roles, to engineering and management.

Is there more to do to get a better balance to encourage and support gender diversity in our industry and the workplace as a whole? Yes, there is. Are we moving in the right direction? Absolutely. Going backwards is not a choice.

Immy And Josh

What I want for Imogen is for her to experience equality in her life and work

Last, but not least, I want to provide insight into my life as a new parent that I believe many parents will relate to – and that is work/life balance.

For us, parenting is a partnership. We both want to be actively involved in Imogen’s upbringing and we realise that our time is one of the most precious things we can give her.

However, like many couples, and even more so for single parent households, amidst the rising costs of living our careers enable us to afford to provide a comfortable home now, and plan ahead. To make sure we can financially support Imogen’s healthcare and education, and whatever passions she may want to pursue, be that sport, music or other cultural activities.

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Supporting This Generation of Parents (and the Next!)

Respect for People and the Planet

At the heart of my hope that Imogen experiences and enjoys a quality of life I believe everyone deserves is a world in which people respect and care for each other – as humans; and respect and care for our environment.

Understanding, accepting, and valuing the fact that we are all different, with different interests, strengths and abilities is fundamental to our ability to work and live in harmony. These differences are what makes us who we are as individuals, and the world would be a far less interesting place if we all looked the same, thought the same, and behaved the same. We might as well be robots!

This brings me to technology, and how the significant advances in technology have the power to change our world – my daughter’s world – for the better, make life easier and help solve the big problems society is facing, including climate change.

As a parent, I am conscious that my generation has a very real obligation to take steps now to create a cleaner, greener future for our children and the generations to come. I am proud to work for a company that is, at a local and global level, pioneering new technologies that are delivering sustainable transport and energy solutions.

"Understanding, accepting, and valuing the fact that we are all different, with different interests, strengths and abilities is fundamental to our ability to work and live in harmony"

I believe flexibility is the key. Today’s workplaces and the workplaces of the future must have the structures, technology and policies in place to enable women (and men) to balance their professional and personal lives and responsibilities. Flexible working arrangements, whether that takes the form of flexible hours or the ability to work from home, have already proven that different ways of working are possible without compromising productivity, progress and profits, while enhancing employee attraction and retention.

When Imogen enters the workforce, and if she chooses to become a mother, I want her to be free of the pressure many parents feel today as they strive to be a good employee and a good parent.

Imogen Rose O’Sullivan is my child, my daughter. This is the world I want her to grow up in. It’s a world I would dearly love all children to grow up in. A world of choice and opportunity, respect and kindness. A cleaner, greener world.

To find out more about careers at Hitachi Rail, please click here to visit our careers pages.


Joshua O'Sulivan

Principal Sales Manager