Wilma - Women construction

Wilma
Finlayson
HR Director
How long have you been working in construction?

8 years

Why do you think it is important to have women working in what in theory is a male dominated working environment?

The Suffragettes didn’t only fight to obtain the right for women to vote, it is much more than that. The fought for women’s rights. The right to be heard, the right to attend and graduate from leading Oxbridge Universities and the right to basic human rights such as divorcing a husband for adultery and cruelty.

Before the Suffragettes won the right for women to vote, there was little incentive for politicians (who were of course all men) to improve conditions for women as they only cared about issues that affected those who could vote for them. Women being able to vote has over the 100 years since it was granted, created a seismic shift in legislation and attitudes when it comes to gender equality;
there is more to do however. Women make up half the population but only make up 27% of members on the boards of the UK’s largest companies and taking it back to our own sector of construction, we still see a lower percentage of females taking up engineering modern apprenticeships, so there continues to be a need to break down the barriers of gender stereotyping.

I personally believe women can be whatever they want to be – from the CEO to the Prime Minister to a Mother working part time on flexible terms if that is what works for them. Women are entitled to the choice and we need to continue to break down the barriers, the stereotyping and the gender bias to truly have an industry sector that is representative of women in the workplace.

Why do you love construction?

The traditional thinking and working methods that have been around for many years in construction are undergoing a metamorphosis; it is an evolving sector and with the ever increasing use of technology, such as digitalisation, artificial intelligence, robotics etc there are even greater
opportunities for women to take up meaningful roles that will lead to successful careers in multi-disciplined technical and leadership positions.

Why is Elliott a good employer for equality?

When I joined Elliott it had been in existence for 45 years. I was their first female director in all of that time. Over the 8 years I have been with the organisation coupled with the support of progressive and forward thinking Leaders, we have seen significant changes in how women are viewed in the workplace, and I am proud to say that we are now most definitely an equal opportunities employer. We have several women in leadership roles as well as a growing number in key senior technical and sales positions in both our Hire Division and Off Site Solutions.

There are a number of female managers on our Leadership Academy programme and there are also a number of women who act as mentors to the Academy cohort.

Why do you think that the work the Suffragettes did is important?

The Suffragettes didn’t only fight to obtain the right for women to vote, it is much more than that. The fought for women’s rights. The right to be heard, the right to attend and graduate from leading Oxbridge Universities and the right to basic human rights such as divorcing a husband for adultery and cruelty.

Before the Suffragettes won the right for women to vote, there was little incentive for politicians (who were of course all men) to improve conditions for women as they only cared about issues that affected those who could vote for them. Women being able to vote has over the 100 years since it was granted, created a seismic shift in legislation and attitudes when it comes to gender equality;
there is more to do however. Women make up half the population but only make up 27% of members on the boards of the UK’s largest companies and taking it back to our own sector of construction, we still see a lower percentage of females taking up engineering modern apprenticeships, so there continues to be a need to break down the barriers of gender stereotyping.

I personally believe women can be whatever they want to be – from the CEO to the Prime Minister to a Mother working part time on flexible terms if that is what works for them. Women are entitled to the choice and we need to continue to break down the barriers, the stereotyping and the gender bias to truly have an industry sector that is representative of women in the workplace.