Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day 2020 #Each­forE­qual — Helen Kowal

To cel­e­brate Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day, through­out March, we will be shin­ing a spot­light on the #womenof­Swaab who are lead­ing our firm and have paved the way for the oth­ers to find their own suc­cess­es. Helen Kow­al opens up about how work­ing pri­mar­i­ly in the area of con­struc­tion and stra­ta law over the past decade has been more of a priv­i­lege rather than a chal­lenge in the stereo­typ­i­cal male’ industry.

#Each­forE­qual #IWD2020

What priv­i­leges or chal­lenges do you stereo­typ­i­cal­ly and gener­i­cal­ly face in your area of work?

Hav­ing worked pri­mar­i­ly in the area of con­struc­tion and stra­ta law for the past decade, it has become abun­dant­ly clear that the con­struc­tion indus­try is stereo­typ­i­cal­ly male’.

The major­i­ty of builders, devel­op­ers and expert build­ing con­sul­tants in the area are males and when fac­ing a room of peo­ple pre­sent­ing on the top­ic of the con­struc­tion indus­try, I am also usu­al­ly look­ing out to a room full of peo­ple, with­out a female face in sight. 

How­ev­er, in say­ing this, it has not pre­sent­ed me with any chal­lenges’ that I have not been able to over­come. Pre­sent­ing to the sec­tor and advis­ing clients on a top­ic that is high­ly spe­cialised, ever chang­ing and present­ly a strong focus of the media, is a priv­i­lege. Peo­ple quick­ly realise that if you know what you are talk­ing about, they should lis­ten, whether the per­son giv­ing that advice is male or female. I have thor­ough­ly enjoyed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with many male coun­ter­parts in the indus­try and it is always a great open­ing line when pre­sent­ing to a room full of males and you are the only female in sight!

It is encour­ag­ing to see so many indus­try sec­tor bod­ies embrac­ing women’, such as the Mas­ter Builders Asso­ci­a­tion Women in Con­struc­tion’ and the Prop­er­ty Coun­cil of Aus­tralias 500 women in prop­er­ty’ cam­paigns. The focus in the con­struc­tion indus­try is to include women and expand the num­ber of women in con­struc­tion, whether it is in the trades, man­age­ment, the law or oth­er areas of the sec­tor. This is a fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive and a sign of promis­ing change. 

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