BSRIA is challenging industry to bring diversity to the top of the agenda in light of International Women's Day 2019 on Friday 8th March. Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, questions whether we doing enough to specifically foster and cultivate the excellence of female engineers – into engineering, the construction industry and into top rung positions.
The campaign theme for IWD – #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.
The wider theme of: better the balance, better the world highlights celebrating women's achievements and calling for a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there's still more to be achieved.
“Diversity is clearly needed in the construction industry to transform the current status quo and switch the dynamics so that women are more fairly represented. A shake up is needed to nudge existing ritual and tradition so that full diversity is represented in the workforce, to reflect the population at large. Women particularly should be more fairly and fully represented.
They have struggled to get an equal footing in construction, but the representation of women in our industry has flowed and ebbed in recent history, demonstrating that, government leadership is crucial in this important debate: we must capture the current zeitgeist.
BSRIA is a strong supporter of the themes of IWD. Each and every one of us can be a leader within our own arenas of influence and commit to take realistic action to accelerate gender parity.
Indeed: there is a myriad of diverse roles for women working in the built environment in 2019 – from surveyors to acoustical engineers to surveyors.
Women make up 52 per cent of Britain’s population, so increasing the percentage of the female workforce in the industry must happen now.
With just 13 per cent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) workers being women, BSRIA is calling on the collected construction industry to help women be the shining stars in the next generation of scientists and engineers. The statistic for women in the construction workplace stands at circa 12 per cent compared to 47 per cent in other industries.
The spirit of IWD 2019 fits in well with BSRIA’s INSPIRE project which is working with local schools, national and local politicians and the media to promote STEM and change its perceptions. This is essential – not only for students at an early age – but for women – who have generally not always chosen this academic avenue.
BSRIA is very supportive of women going into engineering and honoured to be employing many female engineers itself who are flourishing. Engineers help make the future a reality.”
IWD is celebrated annually on 8th March, yet the global campaign theme continues all year long to encourage action.