Women in Construction - Are we still breaking the bias?

The way women are impacting construction is changing, and as a recruitment agency we’re at the forefront of employment in this arena. Charu Gupta, Associate-ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) kindly agreed to speak to us about her thoughts and feelings towards women in construction, and discussed how she felt about gender equality in construction and her personal experiences.

What education route did you take from secondary school to where you are today?

"I was born and bought up into a very traditional family, my parents had everything and all the financial freedom in the world. The only thing they didn’t have is the mental freedom, they didn’t do what they absolutely loved for a living, which is one of the reasons I decided I wanted my own mental freedom and independence from a job. I wanted to love it."

I decided to go to university to study architecture, and I did my masters in the UK. I’ve always been interested in building laws and regulations and with so much going on at the time with zero carbon laws, I knew I wanted to have a positive impact on the environment. My university professor was a huge inspiration to me, and my entire family were supportive of my career from the beginning."

What is your favourite thing about your job?
"I love the fact my job is very much in demand, it’s great to know my skill set is required and I’m needed for a project and for a team. I also get to feel good about what I’m doing. I like the fact I get to see so many different levels of the project, from the engineers themselves all the way though to the architects, I get to see everyone who has an impact and watch the project from start to finish."

The beauty of this is I get to see the way the workforce is changing in construction, and how it’s changed over the years in terms of diversity, gender in particular. More and more women are seen on projects I work on, and there’s definitely change there, but the balance still isn’t there yet. Whenever I attend events or corporate gatherings with other businesses, out of 23 Company Directors only 3 are women, which obviously shows us there’s still an issue with balance of gender in construction. However the numbers are creeping up, especially in Hollis, and I can definitely see the women fighting to get here in other businesses."

What do you think we can do to get more women into construction?
"I think the main focus needs to be teaching children in school, at a very early age about engineering and its potential in the future. We should be teaching young girls that engineering isn’t just for boys, and it can be both exciting and interesting, as well as have an amazing impact on the planet. If we could create an environment for girls where they can attend engineering sessions and learn more about what it actually is at a young age, we could try to break the stigma that engineering is for men.

My daughter is 9 and she watches me leaving the house in the morning with my hard hat on, knowing that I’m going out and providing for the family. She knows she’s more than capable of doing the same, and I think this is an important thing to teach in every household."

Have you always felt there were many opportunities to gain experience in this sector?

"When it gets to management level, there’s always a ‘mans world’ issue, and even in 2022 that’s still there. However, more and more women are going through education each day, and are fighting for that right and chance for the education that’s going to get the to where they want to be. In Hollis in particular, we see a lot of women who are engineers and in my team of 6 graduates, 4 of them are women which is amazing. It’s great to be able to manage my own team and give these women a chance at success within a company that’s really making a difference.

You only need one push or offer of support to lead the way."

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24th June