‘International Women’s Day’ | #ChooseToChallenge gender equality

‘International Women’s Day’ | #ChooseToChallenge gender equality


Construction is exciting, empowering and complex, as is timber in its journey from forest to living-room floor. Jobs and opportunities within forestry, timber conversion and construction, as well as in the professional, trade and legislative bodies could all benefit from more women, whether on their teams, in executive positions, and in boardrooms.

While there should not need to be an ‘International Women’s Day’, the goal to achieve gender equality for all women in the world – has not been realised. A mixture of tradition, thoughtlessness and protectionism has perpetuated inequality, and construction has a lot of room to improve. In construction, women make up only 16% of the workforce. With an impending skills crisis it is critical we work together to entice more women (and BAME) into the industry.

The construction industry, its supply chains and design teams need to change. This means making our workplaces more inclusive, flexible, and attractive for people of all backgrounds. Success will help bring a fresh influx of the new perspectives which are essential to achieving our ‘Climate Change’ commitment. Diversity can help across all levels of a business, with research showing that boards with greater gender and ethnic diversity perform better and turn profitability.

Businesses can work more efficiently, effectively and empathetically with women on the team, and at the TTF we do buck the gender trend with more women than men on the staff team;

Karen Sussex, Head of Operations is both sergeant major and mother to both our team and our members, encouraging leadership and providing a wealth of ‘Online Training’.

Xiao Ma, Sustainability Manager brings her calm, thoughtful effective and efficient nature to a tricky worldwide role in ‘responsible sourcing’.

Lucy Bedry, FLEGT Communications Executive has raised the bar with ‘Conversations about Climate Change’.

Jade Savill, Team Assistant does so much more than her title suggests, working closely with Karen and our members and always going above and beyond.

Camilla Hair, brings a vast level experience and knowledge of timber into the TTF communications team, and life into the stories she writes for our members.

My role is in education and engagement on all thing’s timber, across academic institutions and our TTF regions, bringing passion, knowledge and an urgency to challenge, change and collaborate as in ‘Riverside Sunderland’ design challenge.

The TTF team is positive, skilful, open and fun. Together we deliver more, I believe because of both our gender, demographic and cultural makeup.

This years’ International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge and that is my ask. Where you see a gender disparity with no justification, then challenge it, whether you are at junior, senior or board level. Where you have success let us know and let us celebrate. Let us make this year both inclusive and positive for all people, all communities and our one planet.

Featured in the image on the left side (left to right)

Tabitha Binding, Camilla Hair, Karen Sussex, Xiao Ma, Lucy Kamall, Jade Savill, Lucy Bedry 

Right side (left to right)

Ivona Zinic, Genevieve Ding, Laura Qualters, Pippa Jemmett-Squibbs, Georgia Buckley-Ryan, Charlotte Hanham

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