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    Challenges and Solutions: Overcoming Challenges to Build a Diverse Industry

    Challenges and Solutions: Overcoming Challenges and Building a Diverse Industry

    Continuing our Innovation Series with Founder of Women Into Construction, Kath Moore this week we explored the challenges and solutions that she has and in some instances still encounters in the quest to make construction a more inclusive industry. From initial scepticism to a growing recognition of the importance of diversity,

    Practical Barriers to Inclusivity

    “When we first set up Women into Construction, there was a real feeling of – what is the point? They [women] won’t be any good,” reflects the founder. This sentiment encapsulates the prevailing scepticism that greeted the organisation’s inception. However, over time, perceptions have shifted, and the industry now recognises the tangible benefits of fostering diversity.

    Kath has seen companies increasingly approach Women into Construction seeking guidance on how to enhance their diversity initiatives. Yet, it’s essential to acknowledge that not everyone within the industry shares the same mindset. Despite progress, there remains a need for a cultural shift towards greater inclusivity.

    Addressing the Intimidating Factor

    In any role in any industry and work-place employees want to feel comfortable, safe, with a feeling of belonging. One barrier that was identified by Women into Construction is the lack of facilities tailored to the needs of female workers on construction sites. Something as seemingly trivial as inadequate toilet facilities can create an intimidating environment for women entering the industry. Addressing these practical concerns is crucial in creating a welcoming atmosphere for all.

    “There needs to be a sea change so it is more welcoming,” asserts the founder. Flexible working arrangements, the provision of welcoming spaces are vital components of this transformation. Women need to feel that there is a place for them in the construction industry, where they are valued and respected.

    Attention to Detail Symbolic Significance

    An often overlooked but very vital aspect of inclusivity is the provision of properly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). Once on-site, everyone needs to adhere to the health and safety regulations, elements required by law, but unfortunately, when you are provided with ill-fitting clothing it sends a clear message of exclusion, reinforcing the notion that women do not belong here, it’s about having these basic considerations that signal a commitment to inclusivity.

    The topic of women having babies is not unusual, remarks the founder, highlighting the importance of accommodating the unique needs of female workers, including those related to maternity needs to be addressed. Offering flexible working arrangements and supportive environments can significantly impact retention rates. Women who feel supported are more likely to return to work after having children, contributing to a more diverse, robust and sustainable workforce.

    The journey towards inclusivity in the construction industry is ongoing, but Women into Construction has made significant strides in paving the way for change. By challenging stereotypes, advocating for practical solutions, and championing the value of diversity, the organisation continues to be a beacon of progress.

    However, the road to inclusivity is not without its challenges. Despite increasing awareness, there are still pockets of resistance within the industry. Some companies remain entrenched in traditional attitudes, resistant to change. Overcoming these barriers requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders.

    Collaboration and Awareness for Systematic Change

    Education and awareness-raising initiatives are essential in challenging stereotypes and fostering a more inclusive culture within the construction industry. Women into Construction has been actively involved in outreach programs aimed at schools and colleges, encouraging young women to consider careers in construction. By dispelling myths and showcasing the diverse opportunities available, these initiatives are helping to break down barriers and open doors for future generations.

    Moreover, collaboration between industry stakeholders is crucial in driving systemic change. Women into Construction has forged partnerships with leading construction firms, trade associations, and government agencies to advance their shared goal of promoting gender diversity. By working together, these organisations can leverage their collective resources and expertise to effect meaningful change.

    Retention Challenges and Supportive Solutions

    Another key challenge is the retention of female talent within the industry. Despite efforts to recruit more women, many still face barriers to advancement and career progression. Women into Construction is actively involved in mentoring and support programs aimed at helping women navigate these challenges and achieve their full potential. By providing guidance, support, and opportunities for professional development, these initiatives are helping to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all.

    Reflecting on the progress

    In conclusion, the interview with the founder of Women into Construction sheds light on the challenges and solutions encountered in establishing an organisation dedicated to promoting gender diversity in the construction industry. Through concerted efforts to address practical concerns, challenge stereotypes, and create a welcoming environment, Women into Construction is driving meaningful change and paving the way for a more inclusive future. However, the journey towards inclusivity is ongoing, and it requires a collective commitment from all stakeholders to overcome barriers and create a more diverse and equitable industry.