Forging Links for Women in Construction
By Abigail Blumzon
I believe it’s essential that we recognise the significance of supporting women in the construction industry, a field largely dominated by men. It’s not just about breaking down walls (so to speak) – it’s about building a more inclusive and thriving industry. Taking action on this, the industry will inevitably attract and retain top talent, fostering a diverse and talented workforce. It’s about creating an environment where everybody can thrive, with opportunities for career development and work-life balance. By doing so, we construct a foundation that benefits individuals, organisations, and the entire construction sector.
As an Associate Project Manager at Bailey Partnership and Lead for our South Coast office, I have experienced the crucial nature of this role, the personal growth opportunities it brings, and the importance of holistic well-being. By embracing this position and my responsibility towards my peers and society as a whole, I will continue to contribute towards shaping a more diverse and inclusive industry. With this I want to inspire future generations of women to pursue their ambitions without limitations. Breaking stereotypes is not only important for individual progress but also for the overall progress of the industry.
By supporting women in the construction industry, we create a more inclusive, thriving industry. Not only does it help to attract and retain top talent, creating a diverse and talented workforce, it also contributes to the goal of achieving gender equality and diversity in the industry. Prioritising women’s well-being leads to higher employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. Moreover, it fosters talent development and career progression, enabling women to take on leadership roles. Supporting women and their well-being also enhances a company’s reputation as socially responsible and inclusive. It acknowledges the importance of work-life balance and creates a positive work environment. Additionally, promoting gender equality brings a range of experiences and perspectives to project teams, driving innovation and successful outcomes.
Embracing equality and supporting women and other minorities in the construction industry will bring a broader range of experiences, perspectives, and ideas to project teams. This diversity enhances problem-solving, decision-making, and innovation, leading to more successful and inclusive project outcomes, trust me!
My experience at Bailey Partnership:
One aspect that has been particularly important to me as a project manager is finding a company that supports work-life balance, especially with regards to childcare. I have personally experienced the crucial benefits that working at an equal-opportunities employer like Bailey Partnership gives, such as enabling women and caregivers such as myself to have working arrangements that accommodate our personal responsibilities. Working at a company that understands and facilitates these needs has been instrumental in ensuring my career has not only continued after becoming a mother – but has flourished.
By enabling women to balance their personal and professional lives, we contribute to a more inclusive and supportive industry.
I recognise the importance of mentoring and empowering others, especially aspiring women in the industry. I have been a mentor for people within both the RICS and APM for many years, and by sharing my experiences and knowledge, I can also support and guide those who are starting or looking to further their journey in project management. Mentoring creates a ripple effect, inspiring others to overcome challenges and pursue leadership positions. By empowering more women and minorities to enter and succeed in the construction industry, we bring a range of perspectives and experiences to project teams, leading to more successful and inclusive outcomes.
On a personal level, being a project manager in the construction industry has been a fulfilling and transformative journey so far. It has allowed me to challenge stereotypes, contribute to the industry’s diversity, and inspire future generations. Additionally, finding a company that supports well-being and work-life balance has been crucial for me to thrive in the industry. Mentoring and empowering others ensures a more inclusive and successful future for the construction industry, and I am honoured to play a part in that journey.
My top tips to support women in Construction:
- Foster a culture of inclusivity and diversity within the organisation, promoting equal opportunities for women in all roles, including leadership positions.
- Implement flexible working arrangements that accommodate the personal responsibilities of women, such as caregiving or childcare needs. This could include options for remote work, flexible hours, or job-sharing arrangements.
- Provide mentoring and professional development programs specifically designed for women, offering guidance, support, and opportunities for career advancement.
- Establish employee resource groups or affinity networks for women in the construction industry, providing a platform for networking, sharing experiences, and addressing common challenges.
- Offer comprehensive health and well-being programs that address the specific needs of women, including access to reproductive health services, mental health support, and work-life balance initiatives.
- Provide appropriate facilities and amenities on construction sites, such as clean and accessible restroom facilities and designated lactation rooms, to ensure the physical comfort and well-being of women.
- Promote a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment and discrimination, ensuring that all employees, regardless of gender, feel safe and respected in the workplace.
- Encourage a supportive and collaborative work environment, where women are encouraged to voice their opinions, contribute ideas, and actively participate in decision-making processes.
- Recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in the construction industry, both within the organisation and in the wider industry, to inspire and motivate future generations.
To summarise, I truly believe supporting the well-being of women in the construction industry is essential for creating a diverse, inclusive, and thriving workplace. In the long run it will benefit not only the individual, but also the organisation and the industry as a whole.
Together we can build a more inclusive, equitable and balanced construction industry!