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International Women’s Day: How do we shine a light on the construction industry?

Perfect Circle MD Victoria Brambini discusses how she will be using her experience to inspire others and improve the gender imbalance.

As women in positions of responsibility and as our careers progress, we must become visible role models to inspire the next generation.

I believe it is vital we capture the attention and imagination of girls at a young age, in particular when it comes to tackling the gender imbalance in the male-dominated construction industry.

On Wednesday (6 March), I attended the latest Perspective Roundtable event by Perfect Circle partner Pick Everard, which brought together more than 20 delegates ahead of International Women’s Day, to explore the challenges faced by the construction industry in achieving equality in the workplace.

It’s important we play our part in broadening the minds of young people – as well as their parents, teachers and careers advisors – about the opportunities and roles in the construction industry and do our best to reduce the stigma attached to it being a ‘man’s job’.

After all, it isn’t all about being on a building site in a hard hat.

The Open Doors scheme – which gives the public the chance to see behind the scenes of construction sites across the UK – is a great example of how we can show the next generation what a rewarding career in construction can look like.

Now we need to take this a step further and open young people’s minds when it comes to the world of work – and this shouldn’t be constrained to one week’s work experience in year 10. The industry needs to work harder to allow young people opportunities to access businesses at other times.

Young people should be given the freedom to move around different departments and explore what goes into all aspects of construction projects, from surveying, design, pre-construction planning, and estimating through to site work itself, so they can experience the many possibilities within our industry.

All industries in fact should be more open to encourage young people to see the world of work.

I was recently honoured to have been judging a category in this year’s Construction News Awards and was delighted to see that 40% of the finalists in the category were women.

I know we can do better and we should work harder to instil a stronger sense of achievement in women entering the industry so they can become the role models of the future.

With more confidence and self-belief, woman can overcome perceived barriers, break through any fear of failure, to strive and achieve.

So, as well as showcasing the opportunities the construction industry has to offer to the next generation, we have to work hard to inspire women to believe in themselves and their abilities.

Strong networks, mentoring schemes and supportive business attitudes are just some of the ways in which we can do this.

Despite often looking out to an audience and seeing that I’m a woman in what is still largely a man’s industry, I know I belong here because this industry is what I am passionate about and I intend to use my position and experience to inspire others and give them the confidence I feel in myself and my role to improve the gender imbalance.