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Creating Positive Footprints....

Women in Construction

Senior women and men from across the construction and built environment sector met for the Pink Shoe Forum at the House of Lords, to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by women in the sector. The ERSC white paper found that the sector accounts for 30 per cent of male self-employment, but just 3 per cent of female self-employment.

Hosted by the Earl of Erroll along with Pink Shoe Founder Helene Martin Gee, our excellent speakers were Sandi Rhys Jones OBE, a pioneering advocate for women in the sector; amongst many roles Sandi leads the national mentoring scheme for the Association of Women in Property. Romy Rawlings, UK Business Development Director at Vestre, a Chartered Landscape Architect and author with 25 years’ industry experience. And Rob Boughton Group Managing Director of the Thakeham Group.

Sandi Rhys Jones is a trailblazer in the industry who leads and contributes to many other initiatives successfully driving forward opportunity for women. As a mentor herself, she highlighted the importance of role models and increasing visibility of women in the sector; urging women themselves to step up - for example by entering awards and raising our own profile by speaking at events and taking credit for our ideas.

Rob Boughton endorsed this and also focused on practical measures firms can take, outlining his firm’s activities and outreach to schools which is proving popular. Romy gave a great presentation, considering some of the potential pitfalls as well as sharing her positive experiences as a leading landscape architect.

We also heard from project management expert Jade Onashoga about Project 13; a new initiative from the Institution of Civil Engineers encouraging construction and infrastructure organisations to adopt a more entrepreneurial approach and work together an enterprise with their respective delivery partners.
Then customer relations and people development expert Brian Simpson - who had the idea for Pink Shoe to focus on this sector - outlined the importance of training and the exciting opportunities available. Diana Chrouch spoke further on the breadth of available opportunities and how the event linked to the work of the UK Economic blueprint for Women.
The debate was superbly chaired by Jill Pay, former Serjeant at Arms and chairman of the Pink Shoe Senate.
Lots of excellent ideas were shared by our speakers and delegates, ranging from working with parents so that school students gain a more accurate picture of the exciting range of jobs in construction, to highlight the range of options from professional to more practical roles; to creating a ‘Dress-Up Friday’ so people can see construction is not just about scruffy builders on site.

Its clear the opportunities are there – and with skills shortages in the sector its common sense to encourage more women into construction

For a copy of the post-event briefing and/or to request a place at future events please email info@pinkshoeclub.com

The Women in Construction report will form part of the Pink Shoe ‘Women in the Economy’ White Paper to be published in 2019 when the current series of discussions is complete. All findings from the Pink Shoe Forum are being combined to create a definitive cross-sector report on the current position and future opportunities for women in leadership.