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News Nov 25, 2022

Uniting to End Violence Against Women – Now and Forever

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, igniting 16 days of activism around the world. We proudly support this United Nations campaign.

UNiTE Quote graphic

Recognized globally, November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, igniting 16 days of activism around the world. We proudly support the United Nations UNiTE by 2030 to end Violence Against Women campaign – using our global platform to raise awareness about the harsh realities many women face today.   

At Jacobs, we live inclusion – one of our foundational core values that guides our behaviors and business decisions as a company. We put our people at the heart of our business, holding each other accountable for creating a culture of belonging, empowerment and equal opportunity where all our people can thrive.

According to UN Women, 736 million women worldwide have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence at least once. And 24% of girls between the ages of 15-19 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. The statistics are staggering – a sobering reminder of the significant need to join forces to make a positive difference.

“Violence against women is a global human rights issue – one that requires our collective advocacy and action. We support the women within our company and every woman’s right to fundamental human dignity. We unequivocally condemn any act of violence or discrimination against women, and we firmly stand in support of human rights.”

Steve Demetriou

Steve Demetriou

Jacobs Chair & CEO

The devastating death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran, Iran, in early September sparked outrage worldwide – with unprecedented protests across the country, calling for significant change, demanding accountability and pleading for an end to violence against women.

As a global company with 55,000+ employees, we felt the weight of these events – with many of our people impacted directly and indirectly.

“I was born in Shiraz, Iran,” shares Firoozeh Arjmand, Jacobs Senior Sales Operations Coordinator. “And while I now live in Milan, Italy, my family still lives in Shiraz. After the death of Mahsa Amini, it was really difficult to get a hold of my family to make sure they were safe. All access to any type of communication across the country was shut down. It was terrifying.”

Firoozeh graduated from Shiraz University with her Chemical Engineering degree. During her time there, she had an experience with the morality police that made her realize she needed to leave the country to live the life she wanted.  

“Mahsa Amini’s death and the protests that erupted across the country brought back a lot of painful memories for me personally,” shares Firoozeh. “In 2008, I was arrested and detained with a group of friends without cause. It was terrible. They held us without food or water for 24 hours, and I was also threatened with flogging. I promised myself that night that as soon as I got out, I would leave the country. After I received my degree, I left two years later and moved to Italy.”

As communications co-chair for our OneWorld Employee Network, Firoozeh partnered with our Women’s Employee Network to help organize an internal campaign to support our employees impacted by the events in Iran – offering mental health resources and Courageous Conversation sessions to encourage dialogue and foster advocacy for change.

“When our very own CEO, Steve Demetriou, issued a statement of support for women across Jacobs, it meant so much,” says Firoozeh. “He gave voice to this important issue, empowering me to also speak up and help organize Courageous Conversation sessions for others. Everyone was able to express themselves and find support in each other. This is why I work at Jacobs.”

“What’s special about Jacobs is the genuine commitment from our people to support each other – creating a feeling of belonging for everyone. It’s simply who we are. And for the United Nations campaign in particular, it’s about joining together for our women worldwide. It’s about basic, fundamental human rights that everyone deserves. We’re honored to support this multi-year effort – and the timing couldn’t be more poignant.”

Bob Pragada

Bob Pragada

Jacobs President & Chief Operating Officer

Also born in Shiraz, Iran, and currently located in Dallas, Texas, Jacobs Roadway Engineer Hosna Mousavipour helped Firoozeh coordinate some of the internal campaign activities – feeling inspired to speak up after the personal support she found in her colleagues. 

“Once the protests erupted across Iran, there were about five days where I couldn’t get a hold of my mom, who still lives in Shiraz,” shares Hosna. “I was terrified, but I knew I could find support at Jacobs – that’s what we do here. I turned to my colleagues, who were incredible – responding immediately and dropping everything to put me in touch with people who could help. After I was finally able to connect with my mom and confirm she was safe, I just started bawling. I’m so thankful for the support I’ve found at Jacobs – it’s beautiful to feel so cared for by people who have no idea what I’m going through personally.”

For Hosna, this year’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign is particularly timely, given the ongoing protests in Iran and around the world. It’s a reminder that we have a lot of work to do, and that together, we can help give others a voice.

“Some people are very vocal, while others may not have the courage to do anything. If we come together, we can be the voice for those that don’t.”

Hosna always knew she wanted to be a strong and confident woman – something she’s aspired to be since she was six years old. Receiving her master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas Arlington, Hosna credits her parents for always supporting her in becoming the woman she is today.

“I was born in Shiraz, but I moved around the world for my dad’s job,” shares Hosna. “I learned at a very young age that life was different in Iran – a culture that didn’t support strong, independent women. Life was very restrictive. We couldn’t paint our nails in school, and we’d be sent to the principal if our Hijabs weren’t perfectly placed. When we moved to Spain for my dad’s job, my family became very close to our neighbor, Maria. She was a successful nurse who lived on her own. I told my parents that’s who I want to be like when I grew up – something I never felt was possible in Iran. Living in Spain, seeing this potential and having my parents’ support changed the course of my life – it’s why I left, and it’s why I am the person I am today. Strong and independent.”

With continued injustices and discrimination against women worldwide, we lean into our Culture of Caring at Jacobs. We rally together, and we lift each other up – taking collective action to make a difference.

“It’s incredible to feel and be seen at Jacobs – from the very top. Our leaders are vocal in supporting all of us. I’m passionate about this issue because I’m an Iranian immigrant, but to also feel that same passion from others who aren’t, that means a lot,” shares Hosna.

At Jacobs, our differences are accepted and celebrated to create a world where everyone can thrive. And with commitment and accountability for leading with inclusion in all we do, it starts with our Executive Leadership Team – a culture that permeates the entire company from there.

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