It’s no news that the construction workforce remains one of the most male-dominated industries in the world, both in numbers and in culture. At Skanska we recognize that more gender-balanced and inclusive teams make for a better performing, more innovative, safer, and healthier business. During the last couple of years, we can see that our organization has progressed in gender representation and in creating a more inclusive culture. However, we also recognize that there is much more work to do.
While Covid-19 as a virus doesn’t discriminate, we’ve seen that its social and economic consequences impact people differently. This also rings true from a gender perspective. If last year taught us one thing, it’s that we can accomplish great change in the face of a crisis when we come together. Under the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge, this year’s International Women’s Day’s asks us all to think about how we can help forge a more gender equal world.
Inclusion starts with us
As a long-time, senior representative of our business, I choose to challenge our industry to become more gender inclusive. For Skanska, this means growing a gender-inclusive culture and increasing representation of women as a part of our overall Group strategy. On a personal note, I choose to humbly recognize that inclusion is often invisible to those included. Here is how I will choose to challenge my own biases and blind spots:
Reflection. How might I interpret situations differently had genders been reversed? What if John had been Jane - had I reacted in the same way, had I assessed the individual’s potential and capacity differently? What if Anisha was Andrew, would I have had different expectations, or provided feedback differently? The Harvard Implicit Association Test is a good tool for self-reflection.
Evaluation. Inviting and appreciating feedback by continuing to rotate colleagues as “team reflectors” to consistently evaluate team dynamics in my leadership meetings: Did everyone get to speak? Did everyone listen respectfully? Did we build on each other’s contributions, in an inclusive manner?
Engagement. By engaging in dilemma discussions, including ones around gender dynamics and inequalities, you can highlight different experiences and perspectives. Actively stepping into someone else’s shoes: What is it like to walk into a room where no one looks like you, or shares some of your points of view?
While it’s important that we develop measurable strategies and implement those into business plans, inclusion starts with us – you and me. With that said, what will you reflect upon in your own gender-inclusion journey and challenge this week of International Women’s Day and beyond?
- Anders Danielsson
Skanska Group President & CEO