Why celebrate just one day for International Women’s Day when you could celebrate for a week. In an industry that has always been dominated by men, it is even more important to recognise and celebrate the women in our business for all that they do.
As it stands 14% of the industry is made up of women, an increase of 5% from 2010 when only 9% of the industry consisted of women. Although the construction industry is working towards greater gender parity, women remain underrepresented in site-based roles with 2% of those in skilled manual trades. As a company, we pride ourselves on encouraging women and girls to join the industry, working with schools and colleges to help educate people on the huge variety of roles available and actively promoting the construction industry as ‘not just for boys’. Therefore, with International Women’s Day falling on a Sunday we thought why not take the week to promote careers in construction, celebrate the women we work with and educate our people on the importance of International Women’s Day.
Above: Anna and other female leaders attend the West Midlands Growth Summit.
On the 5th March, the West Midlands Growth Company hosted a round table event where our Head of Social Value, Anna Koukoullis, represented Willmott Dixon Interiors. Anna and other female leaders from the Midlands discussed topics such as culturally diverse leadership, developing an inclusive workplace and ensuring that there are career development opportunities for all. Research has shown that companies with a more diverse workforce, whether that is gender, race, ethnicity or cultural beliefs, are more successful than those who lack diversity.
That evening, five of Willmott Dixon Interiors team attended a Pizza and Prosecco evening hosted by RICS Matrics with an inspiring speech from the previous president of RICS, Amanda Clack on the path to success and the challenges she faced along the way as a female surveyor in the industry.
On Monday we were visited by Target Ovarian Cancer who provided a lunch and learn session on spotting the signs and symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. With Ovarian Cancer having the lowest survival rate of gynecological cancers due to a lack of awareness on the signs and symptoms, we wanted to ensure our people were clued up on how to spot and prevent the disease. It was great to see an audience not just made up of the women from Interiors.
Above: Bev Williams, Abi Inskip and Jack Templeman hold inclusivity talks at a local school.
On Monday and Tuesday, influential women from our business including Sales and Marketing Director Bev Williams and Operations Director Jo Weston provided talks in local schools on the inclusive nature of the construction industry and their paths into the industry. With construction accounting for 10% of the countries workers, educating and encouraging girls to embark on a career in construction is crucial for the progression of the industry. We want to teach girls that construction doesn’t mean manual labour or purely working on a building site but instead teach them about the huge variety of roles available whether they’re office-based, out on site or in a role that lets you travel around.
Above: Our West Midlands Team discusses the inspiring women in the their lives.
Throughout the week our teams have been hosting Inclusivi-teas, debating this year’s International Women’s Day theme, Each for Equal and considering ways gender parity can benefit the collective. Teams also tested their knowledge of gender parity with a quiz with some surprising answers. Slowly but surely the industry is gradually seeing an increase in its female workforce, however there is still a long way to go in achieving gender parity. By encouraging the women in our business to talk openly about their roles and what working in the industry is really like, we are helping erase the stigma that unfortunately still surrounds construction.
Above: The Sales and Marketing team recreate their own version of the #EachforEqual Pose
We hope that by taking the time this week to openly discuss gender parity as well as celebrate International Women’s Day, we are one step closer to creating an inclusive workplace that can be enjoyed and celebrated by all.