Bowens
Bowens

Choose To Challenge

“Women make up just 2 per cent of Australia’s construction workforce, despite one in 10 jobs in Victoria being in the building industry,” suggests the ABC. This is an indicator of the discrepancy between women and men in construction. However, seeing women in roles that have typically been dominated by men, is a great starting point for change.

This year for International Women’s Day, Bowens held an event to focus on Women in Trade. Our host, Vesna Brown, Head of Human Resources guided our event panellist’s Stef Apostolidis, Fiona Nield, Jeanette Taliana and Melissa Moore through a series of questions to provide valuable industry insights from a women’s perspective.

Image of Guest Speakers (from left to right): Jeanette Taliana, Melissa Moore, Vesna Brown, Fiona Nield and Stef Apostolidis

“Women make up just 2 per cent of Australia’s construction workforce, despite one in 10 jobs in Victoria being in the building industry.”

Stef and Fiona are both advocates for change and use their positions to inform, support and encourage women to thrive in the construction industry.

Stef is a qualified carpenter, a site manager for LGA Home Builders and the founder of the Tradie Lady Club (TLC). Her goal is to support, inspire and connect women who are tradies or who aspire to take up a trade. “It was just this feeling of having a big group of women that could all come together and talk about anything.”

“To support, inspire and connect women who are tradies or who aspire to take up a trade.”

You might ask why women need this support? Women often face inappropriate comments on site from male trades. “I think every woman in the industry cops it, either daily or weekly,” Stef says. If we’re going to change the way women are perceived in construction, we need to continue to support each other, and Stef is confident the TLC is making a difference. “I know that what we’re doing is changing lives. I hear it all the time and it’s making a massive movement.”

“I know that what we’re doing is changing lives. I hear it all the time and it’s making a massive movement.”

From construction sites to the policy makers, Fiona is the Executive Director for HIA, Victoria. She brings with her extensive experience in planning, land development, building policy and housing matters. “It’s been a long history with the building industry and one I’m still very passionate about,” Fiona says. So, what is the key to making change within the industry? “To make sure that there’s an inclusive culture, where people are encouraged to share their views and share their knowledge,” Fiona says.

“Make sure that there’s an inclusive culture, where people are encouraged to share their views and share their knowledge.”

That’s why encouragement and support is so vital for women. “I think it’s really important that everyone feels empowered to have their say and be part of the decision-making process,” states Fiona.

Stef and Fiona use their profiles to help other women reach their goals, however, there are women working in the industry that fly under the radar. Jeanette and Melissa are Bowens’ employees who not only work hard to support their teams, they possess a level of professionalism and energy that makes the people around them want to succeed.

“They possess a level of professionalism and energy that makes the people around them want to succeed.”

Jeanette is our only Bowens female Sales Manager and she is a terrific coach and mentor to her team. When asked why women make great leaders, Jeanette says, “Female leaders are empathetic. We lead by example, and we are respected by the team in both males and females.”  Being a leader at Bowens provides Jeanette with the opportunity to help other women achieve their goals within the industry. “Bowens are very supportive with career developments, and we’ll give you all the training that’s required to step into a leadership role.”

“Female leaders are empathetic. We lead by example, and we are respected by the team in both males and females.”

And the advice she would give other women that want to succeed in a male dominated industry? “My advice would be to be confident in your ability to succeed, be a go getter, and just reach for the stars.”

“My advice would be to be confident in your ability to succeed, be a go getter, and just reach for the stars.”

Melissa is an Account Manager, a role she performs with a lot of energy and passion. Even though Melissa thrives in the industry, there are still barriers for women in her position. “I think that probably one of the bigger issues was that old school mentality of males thinking that it is a male industry, that it’s not an industry that females can work in,” Melissa says.

So, how do women succeed a male dominated industry? “We can all achieve anything that we set our minds to, and if it’s something that you really want to do, then go out there, get it.”

“We can all achieve anything that we set our minds to, and if it’s something that you really want to do, then go out there, get it.”

The theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to Challenge.’ It’s about being conscious of our prejudices and challenging them, not just in other people, but also in ourselves. Here, at Bowens, we strive to hold ourselves to these standards so we can continue to close the gender gap in the construction industry.

There are incredible women out there like Stef, Fiona, Jeanette and Melissa, that do a lot to shape the construction industry. Because there is no reason in the world why women should be treated differently to men. Not in the workplace, and not in society.

“It’s about being conscious of our prejudices and challenging them, not just in other people, but also in ourselves.”

If you’re interested in a career with Bowens, feel free to visit our careers page for a list of current job opportunities.

 

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