In this article, Mark Bennett, Senior Build Manager at Willmott Dixon Interiors and Co-Chair of Building Equality talks about the importance of recognising Pride Month and how Willmott Dixon Interiors celebrated.
Despite Pride March being postponed until September this year due to Covid-19, Willmott Dixon Interiors have been celebrating Pride Month by having open discussions and conducting toolbox talks.
Pride month is important to continue the strive towards equality and diversity in society. Regardless of gender identity or sexuality, individuals should feel that they belong. We held our first LGBTQ+ toolbox talk to raise awareness on the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ communities in construction and how we can be allies to better support inclusion. It is vital that the industry becomes active allies because 54.1% of workers in construction do not feel comfortable being open about their gender identity and sexuality. Out of the people surveyed, 30% said their mental health has been negatively impacted by being LGBTQ+ in the construction industry.
Celebrating Pride Month is important for us, we decided a toolbox talk was appropriate because we wanted to take a hands-on approach to opening the conversation and raising awareness among all our people on the role they can play.
Above: Pride March 2019 where Willmott Dixon Interiors took part and sponsored Building Equality’s March
The impact of prejudice and discrimination against minority groups is damaging to the health and life of the individual. Implications include social withdrawal, work absence, anxiety, depression, reduced immunity, and at worst, suicide. These are a result of not feeling included in society, highlighting the importance that we need to work harder to help to improve the lives of many people.
Being an active ally means helping to create more inclusive, understanding, and welcoming environments by expanding their knowledge and addressing their barriers, resulting in creating a community where everyone feels safe and happy to be who they are. An ally challenges stereotypes and helps bring us a step closer to having an inclusive society.
Our toolbox talk was conducted in partnership with Building Equality, who have presence across the UK and work with 60+ organisations in the industry to support LGBTQ+ inclusion. They are an alliance of “construction consultants, engineers, developers, contractors, and institutions who are passionate about working together and harnessing collective power to drive LGBTQ+ inclusion in the construction, engineering and built environment industry.”
“Building Equality’s vision is to have a construction industry that is wholly welcoming, inclusive and supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender + other related communities. As co-chair of Building Equality I completely share in this vision and believe that we at Willmott Dixon Interiors embody this.” Mark Bennett, Senior Build Manager at Willmott Dixon Interiors and Co-Chair of Building Equality.
At Willmott Dixon Interiors, we would like to recommend and encourage everyone in the industry to roll out this toolbox talk and have more open discussions about LGBTQ+ inclusion. The Building Equality Toolbox Talk can be found here: https://www.buildingequalityuk.com/resources
We are looking forward to attending Birmingham Pride in September.