NAWIC BROADCAST: Building a better future

10 April 2015


NAWIC’s Mission is to champion and empower women in the construction and related industries to reach their highest potential. Last month, as we celebrated IWD events around the country, the topic of culture and how it impacts on the empowerment of women in our industry was discussed.

So what does “culture” mean and why is it important to understand the culture of where you live and work?

If we look at a dictionary, the definition of culture we find is : Culture are the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.  At Human Synergists, a company that has worked with many organisations to help them define and work towards a preferred culture, defines culture as: “the shared norms and expectations that govern the way people approach their work and interact with each other”.

So what is the culture in our industry and your organisation? Is it a constructive one that empowers you to want to come into work every day in which the leader’s live the values that you relate to? Can you constructively challenge and call behaviour that is inconsistent with the values or that disempowers people? Or is the expectation that that people just “let go” as they do not feel they can challenge behaviour or “fix” the roadblocks? Are you encouraged to, and do you have the courage to stand up to a behaviour that is creating a roadblock and stopping people from performing their best?

At IWD events held in Queensland, Victoria, ACT and WA, common themes regarding the culture of our industry were discussed. The hot topics that emerged and attendees wanted to change within their organisations and our industry that were identified as barriers to empowering women (roadblocks) were:

  1. Gender Pay Equality – the need to address the barriers stopping us from paying people for the work they do regardless of their gender
  2. Flexible Working – the need for more flexible working options for men and women
  3. Mentoring / Coaching / Sponsorship / Role Models – the need for everyone to get involved to help breakdown roadblocks that have built up over time and not been addressed

These themes identified at NAWIC IWD events are also evident in a recent report which surveyed over 6000 individuals. The report,  “Exploring the Gender Diversity Divide”, found that  “Overall, respondents tended to think that allowing more flexible working practices (44%) and changes in workplace culture (44%) would have the biggest impact on gender diversity."

However, when the results are examined in more detail, there are some clear challenges regarding perceptions and reality. For example, when asked if people thought you and your equally capable colleagues are paid rewards in an equal manner regardless of gender:

  • 64% of women said yes, and 38% “no”.
  • 89% of men said yes, and only 11% of men replied, “No”.

This is concerning because in our country (Australia) the pay gap is the worst it’s been in years and women make over 18% less than men on average.  This raises important questions for us as an organisation regarding what is leading to the difference between perception and reality – is there a lack of understanding of the actual statistics or is there another reason why perception differs to that the statistics tell us?

Globally respondents (both male and female) believe that allowing more flexible working practices and changes in workplace culture through education across the business, will have the biggest impact on diversity in the workplace.

The importance of gender diversity and empowering women has been reinforced through the recent Intergenerational Report 2015 released by the Australian Government every 5 years. The 2015 report illustrates that, over the next 40 years, ongoing improvements in Australian living standards will remain primarily contingent upon continually improving our productivity, and require us to take every opportunity to increase participation rates.

The link between gender diversity and performance / productivity is well documented. This means that Policies and creating a culture that help to continue to boost female participation will help Australia achieve an even higher level of future prosperity.

NAWIC is making Culture a central topic for discussion and driving for cultural change as we celebrate our 20 years of NAWIC and at the upcoming National Conference. At the conference NAWIC, will discuss cultural challenges to empowering women in our industry and  actively tackle these challenges in an open, safe and fun environment where attendees (YOU) will be able to actively participate in the discussions and in develop actions which will be part of the outcomes of the conference.

Where do YOU stand? Do you want to be part of NAWIC and help us build a better future through cultural change in our industry? If so join us at the Conference.


Mark your calendars now because the National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) inaugural barrier-busting National Conference is happening on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 October 2015.

Join NAWIC and other like-minded industry professionals to build a better future for every single stakeholder in the construction industry; by inspiring champions of change and working together for greater inclusiveness and flexibility across every age, gender and culture.

Event: NAWIC National Conference 2015Building a better future

Where: Pullman Hotel, Albert Park Melbourne

When: Thursday 8 & Friday 9 October 2015


Who’s invited: All women and men who want to actively participate in the development of clear solutions and actions that will make change within the construction industry; our pledge is to implement the ideas and strategies generated at the conference to build a better future for all. Those interested should NOT miss this event.

Connect: #NAWIC15

The NAWIC National Conference’s key aims are to work collectively on how to:

  1. Reduce the gender equity pay gap
  2. Increase participation of women in the construction industry
  3. Inspire champions of change for inclusiveness, behaviour, flexibility regardless of age, gender or culture
  4. Grow and sustain a healthier industry for the future
  5. Build a better future for construction in Australia

Master of Ceremonies will be the acclaimed Shaun Kenny from People of Influence. With his unique blend of energy, humour and intellectual rigour he will be sure to take the attendees on a journey that they have never been on before!

Watch this space for news on conference streams, topics, workshops and speakers – all to be released in the coming months.

NAWIC’s values of courage, inclusion, safety and wellbeing, integrity and resilience are upheld by the Association’s four pillars – to raise the profile of women in the construction industry; to develop careers and leaders; to develop networks, share knowledge and experience; and to take positions and advocate – to ensure unity in all aspects of the construction industry.






 Buy tickets

16 April 2015


 Leading Ladies Seminar 4: Making it to the top

 Buy Tickets

30 April 2015


 Awards Launch

 Book Now

13 May 2015


 National Workplace Wellness Symposium | Ozhelp 

 Book Now

9 September 2015


 Awards for Excellence

 More Info

25 September 2015


 Awards for Excellence Dinner

 More Info

 8-9 October 2015


 National Conference

 More Info

14 September 2015 


 QLDNT Awards for Excellence

 More info

comments powered by Disqus