Time to #BreakTheBias for International Women’s Day 2022!

International Women’s Day 2022 is recognised across the globe, IWD celebrates women’s achievements and champions gender equality, this year IWD calls for us all to break the bias!  

Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Once we recognise that bias exists, we can all take responsibility for our actions and begin to positively change and challenge actions that don’t enable an equal playing field.  

SWPA work in the construction industry where there is a high level of gender inequality and a significant gender pay gap. The recent Women and the UK economy report it was revealed that only 15% of the UK construction workforce is made up of women.  

SWPA work against this trend, five of our six employees are women – including our Director, Mary Bennell. Here are the team’s pledges for the year:  

Penny Searson, Client Support Manager; ‘It’s great to be part of a majority female team, over the years I have noticed an increase in the number of women in senior roles. Having recently become a mother, I will #BreakTheBias by both celebrating motherhood and progressing in my career.’ 

Emily Bull, Client Research Officer; ‘SWPA is the first women led team I have been part of it has given me the confidence to speak out and make my opinions heard. I look forward to using this voice to empower other women in the construction industry and together we will #BreakTheBias.’ 

Kaye Wills, Technical Support Manager; ‘Since attending college in the 90’s I have seen great shifts happen in the industry, I’ve gone from being the only woman in the class to being part of this majority woman team! Seeing the increase of women in the industry, I have seen how much women support each other and help each other to thrive. I hope that this trend continues until we reach equality and I love being part of that. #BreakTheBias’ 

Phil Blackmore, Regional Procurement Manager; ‘I have worked within the construction industry for around 15 years, and for the first 5-10 years it was very male driven particularly in more senior roles, but in the past 5 years that is slowly shifting. I am now working as part of a team where 83% are female. This shift is hugely positive, and I hope help continue the trend by supporting the women in our team and the wider industry. #BreakTheBias’ 

Wendy Melluish, Client Support Manager; ‘I have worked in the construction industry now for over 10 years, the changes within the industry have been huge in that time. I’m proud to be part of a forward-thinking team that supports the progression of everyone while maintaining good wellbeing. I will #BreakTheBias by continuing to lead discussions and ensure women are represented equally.’ 

Mary Bennell, Director ‘We are delighted to be celebrating International Women’s Day. Our team is full of intelligent women who are essential to the success of our business and the advancement of public sector procurement. We are continually striving to foster a supportive and equal workplace where our staff can achieve their full potential. I will #BreakTheBias by mentoring the careers of the women around me to become future leaders.’ 

SWPA are committed to empowering our team, Wendy and Kaye are part of South West Women in Construction to support this and we will continue to challenge bias when we see it. This goes further than just our team, we are now reaching out and finding more minority led SME’s, including women led, to be part of our frameworks. 

In LHC, the central hub of SWPA, our HR department we are working to remove any unconscious bias from our recruitment process, to help maintain our core belief of being an equal opportunity employer.

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