When people talk about women in construction, a lot of the time, the industry is viewed as the last bastion of male domination. While that is historically partly true, for firms across Merseyside this is changing rapidly.
Twenty years ago there were hardly any women in the industry, but now they can be seen in every sector and discipline. Firms like architectural glazing specialists RED Systems which is based in Neston, Wirral are working hard to challenge stereotypes and encourage more female talent into the industry.
Emma Carhart is a trainee Quantity Surveyor at RED Systems. She is currently studying for a degree, fully funded by the firm, at LJMU.
She told us what being a woman in construction means to her.
“To me International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of don’t fit into the ‘stereotypical norm’. It is a day that reminds me to feel great about being a woman.
“I am very mindful of the struggles women face in the construction industry. I have experienced ‘funny looks’ on-site or even out an out shock that a young woman is there, doing her stuff in a hard hat! I totally embrace this by taking pride in the fact that I am able to be on-site and have a key purpose to fulfil my role as a QS.
“If you are a young woman considering a career in construction and anybody questions you on why you want to choose such a ‘male-dominated industry’, do it regardless, chances are if it feels right for you it almost definitely will be.
“Since starting my training at RED Systems 2 years ago, my confidence has grown immeasurably and I really feel that the construction industry has 100% shaped me into a much stronger woman than I thought I was.
“I have known I wanted to become a quantity surveyor since I was about 14 years old, I went to an all-girls school and we had a careers day where we had to guess the occupation of women as they described it to us, one woman had a very interesting job but no one could guess what it was, she turned out to be a quantity surveyor. She was so inspirational and I knew that was the path I wanted to take.
“I come from a family of pretty inspirational women but have to say that as a little girl I always loved everything about Marilyn Monroe. Even though she is often viewed as the original Hollywood starlet, she was not content with allowing leading men to hog the limelight.
“Often, in the construction industry, men definitely try and own the spotlight but Marilyn’s influence on me has given me the attitude to make it happen for me and turn this spotlight away from the men in this industry.”