Celebrated by communities, organisations and individuals around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) not only commends the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but uses this momentum to drive further action towards gender parity. The theme of IWD 2019 is #BalanceforBetter, highlighting the benefits of creating a more balanced working world.
As part of our support for IWD, Kingspan teams across the globe are celebrating International Women’s Day at both Kingspan and industry events, including a keynote by Marci Bonham, Managing Director of Kingspan Insulated Panels in Ireland and Fabrications Safety & Lighting (FSL) in Europe, on 'Why Inclusion Matters?' at the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) International Women's Day Breakfast.
Gender equality is not a women’s issue but a business issue, and one which STEM-related industries like the construction sector are beginning to tackle, but only slowly. In the UK women accounted for 20% of the construction workforce in 2018, up from 13% in 2016. That’s against a backdrop of a skills shortages where almost two in five positions were proving hard to fill.
Diversity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the sensible thing from a business perspective. Research by Gallup shows that companies with an inclusive workforce are 22% more successful than homogeneous ones; and McKinsey & Co research has shown that companies in the top quartile for gender-inclusivity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above those in the bottom quartile.
One issue in the construction industry is the need for more senior female role models. As HR consultants Randstad found in a 2018 report on women in construction, 45% of women thought that a lack of senior female role models was a barrier to progression.
Being able to identify with someone who has gone through similar experiences and challenges as you may face, and who has succeeded in rising through the ranks, is incredibly important. Ensuring visibility of women in senior positions allows people to perceive what roles are available to them.
Empowering women, and our people generally, in Kingspan is something we’re very committed to through our talent programmes, mentorship and other initiatives and an area where we will continually increase our focus over the coming years.