Published last week, the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s first Gender Social Norm Index (GSNI) found that, despite advancements in a number of key areas in society, almost 90% of men and women globally hold some level of bias against women. Whilst the report certainly makes for disheartening reading, highlighting the evident “glass ceiling” as women work to move beyond “basic capabilities” of subsistence and participation, to “enhanced capabilities” of agency and change, it also is a clear message that we must continue to work hard to change perceptions.
One of the ways we can do this, particularly in such a far-reaching yet traditionally male-dominated industry as construction, is to celebrate the ways in which women are driving change, particularly in forward thinking fields such as digital and communication. In Europe, there is a gender gap of 11% in digital skills. Addressing this could not only boost the European economy by €16 billion GDP but help to increase women’s position and perceptions within our increasingly digital society. To learn more about what it is like working in this field, we spoke to Jodie Williams, our Digital Campaign Manager.
What was your career path into your current role and what inspired you to go for it?
I’ve worked for Kingspan now for nearly 17 years. My career started out working on reception, eventually sitting within the marketing department as a Guarantee Coordinator and providing support for our marketing department. While working within the marketing department, I would become involved with projects, mainly event organising and assisting with product samples requests. In 2015 when I returned from maternity leave, I was asked if I would like to get involved in a large-scale project of building a new global website.
From this experience, I developed a love of digital marketing and started my Level 4 CIM certificate in professional marketing which included modules on digital marketing. I am now studying the level 6 diploma in digital marketing which has helped me to progress into my current role as a digital campaign manager. My role includes all aspects of digital marketing for the Insulated Panels business in the UK & Ireland. In addition, I also manage the marketing activities for the Structural Products and Coldstore sections of our business.
How has the position of women changed within construction over your time in the industry?
I have seen a clear change over my time at Kingspan within the industry. If we take Kingspan as an example, I have seen the progression of multiple women into senior management roles, even taking up roles as directors and board members.
What advantages would gender equality bring to the industry?
I think seeing more women becoming board members is a positive step. Also, showing that there is gender equality would make for a positive work environment, with both male and female employees seeing one another as equals which would make for a better team!
What advice would you give to a woman looking to start a career in your industry?
I would advise any women looking to make the move into construction to go for it! Be ambitious, be driven, and continue to learn, which is important with the ever-growing change within digital and technology. I think now more than ever is a great time to join and make a change within the industry.
Who inspires you?
I work in a department with many women who are in senior roles. Not only do they continue to progress within these senior roles, but like myself have families and do so while finding that work balance.