I work in an industry that was once the domain of men (well all used to be like that, but mine more recently). In the building industry, women are still not that prevalent…and I wonder why?
What happened to all those girls I studied with at varsity? All those girls that were busy studying architecture, engineering and quantity surveying? Where are you? The were no girls in the construction management…and I am yet to meet a female construction manager.
I worked in an office where there were more women than men, but I still find myself often, the only female sitting in a site meeting, and I do the minutes because I am running the meeting and the project, not because I am the typist or secretary.
I have left the corporate world of building for a more laid back job, but I am still here. I do not do site meetings on the same level I used to but I am still here.
I know that in the last office I worked in, I earned less than my male counterparts who had less work experience than I did (which is one of the reasons I left).
Do we as women not fight hard enough for our salaries, do we expect less of ourselves?
I know the view in the previous office was that women were going to have babies and leave so there was no point in investing the women. Once they had babies, they were never the same.
I agree, once we have babies we are not the same. We are better. We are mothers with a deeper insight into the world. We can manage time more efficiently because we know we have other things to do. We do not work much office overtime, but that is because we manage to finish out work during office hours, because we know we have other things to do at home. It is not because we are less dedicated to our jobs.
As a family we decided it was time for Hubby to chase his career and I was done trying to climb up anymore ladders. I wanted to do commercial work and as a lone me, there was not much chance of me getting that commercial work. So I gave that up to work in a small office which still has opportunities. I still love my work and I am still living my dream. I actually earn more in the smaller office than I did in the corporate office and I work less hours.
There are places out there that respect mothers and the fact that they have other things going on. They understand children and the pull they have on us. However, I find those offices are rare to find.
Breastfeeding is not catered for, in most places. Mothers have to express in a toilet most times. I was lucky that I stuck to my guns and I expressed in the boardroom and used the microwave to sterilize and the fridge to store breast milk.
Where are you women of the building industry? I am very sure everyone did not have babies and leave. All my friends are still practicing.