International Women's Day

3/8/2016 4:10 PM CET

Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion opens up new possibilities and is essential for personal, company and community growth. Today is International Women's Day, a great occasion to take a look at ways of supporting and raising the awareness of the need for gender diversity across the construction and development industries.

More and more women are deciding to turn the tide and start their careers in construction and development. Within Skanska, over the last year the  percentage of women employees has increased from 12% to 14%. This can be compared to an industry average percentage of 11%. At management level, we have increased from 16% to 17%. All employees have a role in creating a more diverse and inclusive culture. To encourage greater gender equality across all industries, the International Women’s Day theme is #PledgeForParity. The idea, is that each and every one of us can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly.

Role models

At Skanska, we can find numerous examples of successful female leaders in the construction industry. Anca Daniela Raducan and Anna Życińska-Wójcik, project managers from Skanska Romania and Skanska Property Poland, have been finalists of Best Project Managers in European Women In Construction & Engineering Awards 2015.

Another great example is Karen Dorsey, project manager at Skanska USA. Throughout her 27 years at Skanska she has encouraged women to speak up at meetings and find their seat at the table. Her advice? Be confident, believe in yourself, don't apologize, and don't be afraid to be the smartest person in a room. "We must market ourselves to women and speak their language," Karen said.

Karen is involved in the Skanska Women's Network, which is an employee resource group focusing on the needs of Skanska USA women. The platform provides professional development and a forum in which women have a possibility to share their experiences and influence the company. It gives a great possibility to make connections, develop the leadership confidence and discuss new ideas. 

Skanska's pledge for parity

At Skanska, parity is something we work with all year round to ensure and improve. Platforms like Skanska Women's Network, Mixed Mentoring Program in Skanska UK or Dialogue 2015 in Skanska Finland have made a great impact and support female colleagues. In 2013, Skanska established a Group-wide strategy on Diversity & Inclusion  and in the new Business Plan Profit with Purpose, Diversity and Inclusion plays an important role as one of the areas within Sustainability.

The challenge is to take a different look at how to create an environment where women can thrive through their careers. Construction needs diversity and inclusion to sustain development and growth.

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