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Female directors encourage Gloucestershire women to build career in construction

In honour of International Women's Day today (March 8), new homes provider Bromford is encouraging Gloucestershire women to consider careers in the construction industry.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that, at the end of 2022, just 14.7% of people working in construction were women (321,000 out of a total workforce of 2,171,000 people).

At Bromford, the Investment Senior Leadership Team, which focuses on building new homes and procuring properties from private developers, consists of four women and just two men.

Catherine Jarrett, sales and marketing director, and Clare Crawford, partnerships director, are both keen to bring more women into housebuilding.

Catherine, who lives in Gloucestershire, has worked in the construction industry for over 20 years.

Catherine Jarrett said: "Construction is a male-dominated industry, but I'm very thankful to have always been in inclusive and respectful environments. When I was a sales adviser, most of my sales directors were women, so there was a strong female presence and I was able to learn directly from my role models.

"I've worked with some brilliant women site managers, but unfortunately there is still a lack of female managing directors in the industry. There are some great women MDs out there, but not as many as we need. This is a role I would love to do one day and help to break the glass ceiling."

Catherine continued: "More women are being brought into the sector through graduate schemes and apprenticeships, which is great to see. I'm seeing more female engineers, planners and project managers. Construction can be very inclusive, and it's important that women who work in the industry are made visible.

"Working in housebuilding is hugely rewarding, as you get to meet the people who are moving into homes you helped to build.

"My advice to women joining the industry is to enjoy it - it's a fantastic place to work. You get to leave a great legacy when you finish a site, and that's something not many people have the privilege of doing."

Clare, from Wiltshire, has been in the affordable housing sector for 25 years.

Clare Crawford said: "There is still the perception that it is harder for a woman to be a site manager, as people assume that women are going to be the primary family carer, so therefore won't have time for a career. I definitely see men in the industry benefitting from taking parental leave, so that's a stereotype that is changing.

"It's massively important to encourage women into the industry, and to undo the anti-family side of things. If a person is working in a place they enjoy, their organisation should be able to work with them to find ways to help them thrive, regardless of whatever family and life changes are happening around them.

"My advice to women interested in housebuilding is to not assume there will be barriers, and instead challenge the norm. Working in affordable housing wasn't my first job, but I found it was something I thrived in and that's what made me stay. In construction we get to make a difference, and not every job does that."

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women, promoting equality and raising awareness about discrimination.

This year, the theme is #EmbraceEquity, which is all about educating people on the difference between equality and equity and highlighting why it's so important.

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