Women in Construction
I think everyone who knows me, gets the fact that I am not someone who believes in pushing women into roles within our industry just to tick a box.
Our drive to bring more people into the industry should continue to look at ways of attracting more women and I think those females who are already working in our specialism show what they can bring to the industry.
There is plenty of research that shows from an early age, girls and boys are already starting to form stereotypes about what they can be and what they can achieve.
It’s just a fact that our type of work – especially at operative level – is more likely to attract men. That’s not to say that there are not exceptions. Only recently, I watched in awe is two fit, strong women tore down a stud wall with pick hammers – not only were they good at it, they looked like they were having a whale of a time!
So while we can’t stereotype, we do have to recognise that men and women think differently and, therefore, we have to find ways to be approachable to everyone in order to bring the best talent through.
Of course, not every job demands hard labour and it’s crucial that we get that message across loud and clear – especially to young women and men.
They might not feel cut out for a career as an operative on-site but there are dozens of other disciplines in construction that require the best talent – including estimators, surveyors, bid writers and HR. I must say, we are beginning to see changes as women come into the health & safety and environmental elements of the industry.
As a woman in construction, I was definitely treated differently when I first started out. There were certain clients who I just couldn’t go and see because they wouldn’t take me seriously – not because of anything I’d done but purely because they had a pre-conceived idea of a woman in this industry.
Thankfully, I don’t come across that now – partly because times have changed and partly because I’ve grown stronger over the years and know how to deal with individuals like that.
However, our girls should not have to put up with that from the start and that sort of behaviour is something I think the industry now rejects.
Again, I am not one who tries to suggest that men and women are the same. We’re not, but I think that those differences in the way we think and work can be a huge asset to the industry.