Paving the way for women in construction safety
In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, and this year’s theme, #BeBoldForChange, we are featuring stories from our leaders and employees throughout the month of March, describing their own bold moments in relation to workplace equality and honoring diversity and inclusion.
I’m always up for a challenge, and choosing a career in construction safety in the Middle East meant there would be a lot of them. In this industry there are fewer women, not only in my specific field, but also in leadership positions, and because I’ve been successful in my own path, I feel an obligation to mentor and connect with other women and help them flourish in whatever role or field they set their sights on.
I believe there’s a high expectation for me as a woman to outperform my counterparts, as well as a notion that other women in similar roles may be judged based on how well I do. Often I’m the first woman that people have seen in my profession, so I’m changing people’s expectations about how a woman can contribute to construction safety.
To #BeBoldForChange, we must be present and be seen; we must speak up and ensure our voices are heard. As a woman, take a seat at the head of the table. You can’t wait to be noticed, and sometimes that means stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue your dreams. And if we do encounter biases, such as the assumption that a woman with children can’t or won’t travel for work, or that a promotion is due to a gender quota, we can use these experiences as incentive to change people’s minds.
I have fought hard to overcome barriers and have a “seat at the table,” and I hope my efforts pave the way for others. Progress begins with recognizing ingrained biases and then working to change that aspect of the culture. For me, a company culture that supports diversity and inclusion means creating an even playing field so all employees have the opportunity to realize their professional ambitions.
Our differences are what make strong project teams and a strong workforce. Our varied backgrounds, experience and viewpoints help us provide our clients with the best solutions and outcomes for their projects.