With only a day to go before International Women’s Day (8 March), Nicola Dibb executive director and founder of WISH, shares her thoughts on the importance of combatting gender disparity within the housing and construction sectors
International Women’s Day (IWD) has highlighted the plight and achievements of women for more than a century, with the first informal observance held in 1909. It celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
Commenting on the significance of IWD, Nicola Dibb, executive director and founder of Women in Social Housing (WISH) said: “Campaigns such as International Women’s Day are hugely important for highlighting gender disparity and the very real struggles that many women face in the workplace.
“This year’s campaign theme is #PressforProgess and that is exactly what we need to be doing in the housing and construction sectors where women remain hugely underrepresented despite a growing skills shortage.
“Women make up 47% of the UK workforce, yet only 27% of housing associations are led by women and they account for just 11% of construction employees – a figure which drops down to as little as 1% of the manual trades.
“The growing skills shortage, which looks set to be further exacerbated by Brexit, provides a golden opportunity to boost the number of women coming into the sectors.
“But change must come from within and the housing and construction sectors must continue to press for progress, combat inequality and break down the barriers that are holding women back.”
WISH is an independent networking organisation for women working in the affordable housing and constructions sector with eight regional groups across. It focuses on encouraging more women to choose housing and construction as a career and supports the progression of women already in the sector, challenging stereotypes and barriers.