Happy International Women’s Day! We’re joining the #ChooseToChallenge revolution by continuing to challenge gender stereotypes within the construction industry.
Though the percentage of females entering STEM careers is steadily rising, there is still much work to be done within the construction industry, with women representing just 11% of the workforce according to The Smith Institute. At Acorn, we are proud of the fact that around 45% of our employees are female. From Finance to Marketing, Sales to Construction itself, we are pleased to offer a diverse range of roles which many of our female employees fill. Our board of directors includes our Chairman, Group Managing Director, Funding Director and Group HR Director who are all women.
To celebrate IWD2021, we interviewed three women at Acorn: Land Buyer Amy Proctor, Development Manager Amy Scammell, and Group Interior Designer Rena Makwana-Mistri on their personal experiences of working in construction and what Acorn is doing to challenge gender stereotypes within the industry.
1) What inspired you to work in construction?
Amy P: My grandfather was a surveyor and land buyer who must have inspired me, and I’ve always had an interest in the built environment and property development.
Amy S: My Dad was the director of a main contractor and also did his own developments which I visited when I was young, it was him who suggested that I did a degree in property development as I’d always shown an interest in his work and enjoyed site visits.
Rena: My Father was a building contractor so growing up I was always surrounded by building materials and design brochures. We would often pop in to check on his projects en-route to the park or school! This instilled a great confidence in me and belief that gender is not a barrier to any type of knowledge.
2) How does Acorn challenge gender stereotypes in construction?
Amy P: By giving equal opportunities based on someone’s skills and ability, not gender.
Amy S: By treating everyone equally and employing both genders equally so the environment doesn’t feel too male heavy.
Rena: Acorn has a unique ability to bring out the best in people and be responsive to their needs, irrespective of gender.
3) Since the Coronavirus pandemic, how have you found balancing home life with work?
Amy P: Not being able to meet face-to-face is a challenge which is so important for building relationships, particularly in this industry. On a personal level, I am very grateful that nurseries have remained open!
Amy S: In some ways I’ve preferred working from home and feel it gives a better home and work-life balance. It’s been great that sites have been able to stay open and being able to carry out site visits has meant that things have felt fairly normal. I’ve also found I’ve been more productive working from home as I’m lucky there are little distractions.
Rena: Like most people adjusting to work/home life during the pandemic has been significant. Juggling work and homeschooling has definitely been challenging but I am proud that I have been able to demonstrate resilience during a tough time and adjusting to new ways of working.
4) What’s your proudest achievement at Acorn?
Amy P: Being involved in the gaining of planning permission for Saxonvale; which is probably one of Acorn’s largest sites. I’m now focused on facilitating new relationships and opportunities for the company which will be really important post-Covid.
Amy S: I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to grow in my role. I’ve progressed from managing a site of 7 houses to managing multiple sites of 100 units.
Rena: Being involved in a number of Acorn’s award-winning developments.
5) What advice would you give to women who are looking to get into the industry?
Amy P: To apply what skills and interests you have to a role, of which there are so many.
Amy S: Don’t be put off that it can sometimes appear to be a male-dominated industry, women are treated equally based on their skillset and there are plenty of roles to suit everyone.
Rena: If you have a passion for the industry then go for it.
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