BSRIA celebrated International Women’s Day on 8th March but as an industry – Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA – asks: are we doing enough to promote the excellence of female engineers – both into engineering and into the ‘boardroom’?
The remit of the day is for women to continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement – on a worldwide scale. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the ‘already glacial pace of progress’ meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.
The organisation calls for both men and women to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. BSRIA is working with the local schools and colleges to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects – not only at an early age – but to women – who have historically not always chosen this academic avenue.
The current statistics for women in the construction workplace is about 12 per cent compared to 47 per cent in other industries. This differentiation is clearly unacceptable. Women make up 52 per cent of Britain’s population, so increasing the percentage of the female workforce in the industry must happen.
They have struggled to get an equal footing in construction, but the representation of women in our industry has waxed and waned in recent history, demonstrating that, government leadership is crucial in this important debate.
Positive discrimination for women to join the board of companies in industry is called for. And there are plenty of different roles for women working in the built environment these days – with changing project teams and additional opportunities.”