International Women’s Day 2020
Imagine a world where both men and women are equal, in the workforce, in the community and in the home… How empowering would this be on a global scale? Imagine what our global community could achieve! Sunday 8th March marks the annual celebration of International Women’s Day. The theme for this year’s celebration is #EachforEqual where an ‘equal world is an enabled world.’ This theme aims to bring awareness to the power of the individual. We as individuals are all responsible for our OWN thoughts and actions – Every single day. This year’s theme comes from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism’ meaning we are all part of the whole & collectively we can make the difference we want to see when it comes to creating a gender equal world. This #EachforEqual campaign continues to run all year long. It is our job to ensure the continuation of our positive actions and conversations long after International Women’s Day has passed, but to take this theme and initiative with us throughout our lives every single day!
Building and construction is Australia’s second largest industry. It impacts upon our everyday lives by supplying vital infrastructure such as homes, schools, hospitals, roads, offices, shops and airports. It also brings crucial prosperity to the nation by employing more than a million people! However, with women currently only make up 11% of the industry’s total workforce and only 1% of building trades, the industry is missing out on the skills and talents of HALF the population. Employing the best workers REGARDLESS of their gender means our industry will continuously benefit and grow with new skills, ideas and innovations. The success of construction businesses will thrive, and more women can take advantage of the incredible career and job opportunities that this industry has to offer.
This week I was privileged to sit on a panel at Reece Bathrooms to explore the idea of gender equality in the construction industry. This event provided me with the opportunity to speak up about some of the differences and potential improvements that could be made in a workforce if 50% of our construction employees are female. The possibilities of our industry being equal in the future is real. Look at where we have come from in the past 50 years we have seen some significant growth of women moving into management roles within the workforce and whilst we still have a long way to go we must recognize our achievements. The future possibilities for equality in the workforce have empowered me to move forward with greater conviction as a role model for other women in business.
There are many women in our industry who are already advocating for equality in their own quiet and humble way. One woman I deeply admire and would like to acknowledge is Rachael Turner, a Brisbane based builder who turned the construction industry on its head only a few years ago with the conception of her own building company ‘Front Porch Properties.’ Her highly successful business & ability to stand confidently in a predominantly male industry has given myself and many other women a voice & confidence to follow in her footsteps.
Kate Walker, business owner of KWD and leading Interior Designer is another wonderful mentor who continues to prosper and succeed in a male driven industry. Just like these inspiring women, I hope as an Interior Designer and co-owner of our Gold Coast based residential construction business, that I can inspire others to pursue their own dreams without fear of disparity & to help pave the way for greater equality between genders in the future.
As we look to a future of equality in the workforce, we must begin to paint a picture for our children right from birth on what this vision looks like. Children’s literature and our own home values speak volumes when it comes to breaking down gender stereotypes. Changing the way we speak about traditional ‘male’ and ‘female’ roles in the workforce as well as engaging our children in books that promote gender equality can make a difference. If we ‘collectively’ start to make these small shifts as individuals to actively choose to challenge stereotypes, combat prejudice, expand beliefs, improve circumstances and celebrate female achievements, we can ‘collectively’ make waves around the world. Together, we can create change. Together, we can each help to create a gender equal world.
– Elaine Blackwell, Accounts Manager/Social Media Manager & Sarah Davey, C0-Director and Interior Designer of Davey Constructions