Portrait photography exhibition opens to the public today (17 May)
The She Builds UK exhibition has launched to shine a light on the lack of female representation in the construction industry.
The project uses portrait photography and written profiles of female construction professionals from across the industry to raise awareness of the lack of gender diversity.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the percentage of women in the industry is just 14% – and that figure has barely changed in 20 years.
The exhibition, which is open to the public until 31 May, is the brainchild of Neil Perry, a professional photographer of architecture, design and the wider built environment.
The project was inspired by a conversation Perry had with his seven-year-old daughter, Jessie, about what job she wants to do as a grown-up. She replied: “I can’t be a builder. Only men are builders.”
This statement led Perry to think about how he could make a difference to traditional perceptions of careers in construction.
Speaking at an exclusive launch event for the exhibition, Perry said he wants “to shine a light for gender equality in the construction industry”.
Anita Suji, regional director at Aecom, said: "This project seeks to break the stereotypes of working within the construction industry by showing the varying roles which women can play. The statistics about women in construction haven’t changed in over 20 years and we all need to pull together to make a change.
"It is vitally important that we increase the ratio of women within the Industry. It is a known fact that diverse teams achieve better project outcomes."
Suji added that in conjunction with Aecom’s schools outreach programme and Stem Enthuse partnership, the company will be reaching out to schools through the She Builds programme to speak about careers available in the industry.
Marwa El-Sheemy, diversity and inclusion project manager at Bechtel, said: "The She Builds UK project is a great way to showcase the diversity of opportunities in the industry as well as highlighting more visible role models to help change the perception of the next generation and encourage more women of all ages to consider working in construction jobs."
Visible role models
Speaking to CIOB People, Wain said: "Events like this are super important to create role models in construction. Every action to create visibility of woman in the industry – it doesn’t matter if it’s through social media or exhibitions like this – is important to create change.”
The exhibition, located at the Building Centre in central London, is free to attend. Contact email@example.com for more information.