I read with great interest the many articles with reference to women in the industry and can’t help feeling a sense of déjà vu.
As one who has been involved in property and construction for more than 25 years, I have noticed that this is a theme that keeps recurring. I suppose like health and safety or diversity, it takes time to change a culture so you just need to keep working at it.
We do need more women in the industry, but why? Not because they are female and it’s good to have a gender mix or because it looks good on our diversity stats. It’s because women on average are higher academic achievers, are better than men in certain business situations and, in my experience, much better at multi-tasking.
I can speak with some authority on this as I am an Irish male with six older sisters, all of them high achievers in their own particular field, who unfortunately feel they have to be better than their male colleagues just to be on a par.
I am not sure the men in our industry appreciate this fact and fully understand it.
In American football they adopted the Rooney Rule - which requires the NFL to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs - to try and combat inequality. This does not affect output, but it does affect input and it forces at least a change in mindset that will lead to the correct person for the job being assessed on merit regardless of colour, sex or religion. Perhaps we should adopt the Rooney Rule in our industry?
Joe Webb, director, Bouygues UK