Warning this is a bit of a self-indulgent post, about one of the most difficult parts of my job. Dealing with my own apparent invisibility, and how it makes me feel.
We are very blessed that through a lot of hard work and a little luck, we have a successful construction company. It hasn’t always been this way, and I am comfortable enough to acknowledge my own role in the turnaround of our company. It simply came about through a change in thinking, obviously there were steps to take that created a change in what we do every day, but it all began with a change in thinking.
This created a new found success that provided a wave we are still riding today. All positive so far!
As you know, we work in construction, and The Builder is the principal contractor, I am the woman beside the builder. I have a title, or actually a few now as our business expands, but (and this is the big but) The Builder is the builder. This is where my issue begins.
The construction industry like many others, still has an outdated thinking that goes along with it. So many people simply do not understand my contribution, with the exception being you my readers, who have the firsthand experience of what exactly we are all about and my role in that. Many others do not see it. They simply see The Builder as the face of our company and do not see beyond that. Let me give you an example…….
On the weekend, an acquaintance shared on The Builder’s Facebook page, what a wonderful person he was because we as a company sponsor the local football club, her child had recently begun playing for said club, and this lovely lady had noticed the “he” sponsored the club and wanted to say thank you. A lovely message right, but only to The Builder as he is the perceived face of the company.
Just this Sunday and Monday The Builder is out on two different corporate days, because he is the perceived face of the company. He had a lovely day at the football yesterday, and today is enjoying the company of our bank manager at the Quiksilver Pro.
Now at this point it is important for me to point out, I am very grateful for any of these gestures, my husband works extremely hard and deserves these rewards.
The purpose of this post, is to highlight, just how much the construction industry is still a real “mans” world, on all levels. This is something I am passionate about changing.
Why is it, that although I am a joint director, and responsible for so many crucial parts of our business, I am still largely invisible? So it’s true, I cannot build you a house with my own hands, but equally true, I can have a house built for you.
I believe it comes with our thinking, the very thoughts that are ground into us day after day. The natural bias to men working in the trades, along with the common assumption that they run the business, see’s many women missing out on the recognition they deserve. Men are seen as the strength, forgetting how strong women are every day.
Nothing highlights this more for me than my business partner award, while it is a recognition I love, an award I know I deserve, I believe in the industry it is not thought of the way we see it. The word partner can have so many connotations, and when this word is coupled with the bias towards men in construction, I feel it could be misconstrued as a wife’s award, not and award for being a partner in the business.
This brings me in a very roundabout way, to the point I am making. We need to teach our children to think of people, not men or women, girls or boys but people. We need to lead by example, push the community imposed boundaries, and show our children that men can take the same roles as women, and women as men.
These bias’s that we as women in construction fight against every. single. day, are demoralising, discouraging and dispiriting. We need your help to break the moulds and allow women to be thought of equally.
Have you faced an obstacle in your career? How did you overcome it? What job would you really love to see men doing more? Do you ever feel invisible?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT