Men only – unconscious bias in construction

Today’s blog post is written by Kensington Swan construction partner Mary Haggie:

Those of us women who work in the construction sector know that it’s largely a man’s world.  The traditional construction jobs such as builder, plumber, electrician, have always been a career path for lots of men and few women. However, just like every other industry, the sector is changing with more women entering the sector, particularly in professional fields such as engineering, design, project management, legal and company management.

So I find it perplexing and frustrating that so many construction industry organisations are still dominated by men. To take just four examples – Civil Contractors NZ Federation Executive Council  – 7 men, 1 woman; the Registered Master Builders Federation Board – 9 men; the IPENZ governing board – 6 men, 2 women; the Society of Construction Law – 8 men, 2 women.  The latter is particularly concerning to me. As a woman working in the legal area of construction (where there are lots of great women), SCL is losing relevance. This can be seen in its upcoming annual conference where, just like last year, the speakers are predominantly male.

There is ample evidence that gender balanced organisations make better business decisions, are more innovative and are ultimately more profitable.  Our representative organisations need to step up.  The answer is easy. Get women into your organisations and actively promote female perspectives. And stop saying it’s all about merit – it’s not. We have a different voice.

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