Back to News

International Women’s Day – #BreakTheBias 2022

Building better opportunities for women

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. According to the official website for International Women’s Day, increasing the visibility of the day-to-day achievements of women in the workplace – particularly in construction, a male-dominated industry – can help to accelerate gender parity. So today, we are bringing light to some of our brilliant employees, who contribute significantly to the overall success of our organisation.

“Construction has long been a male-dominated industry. Over the last 12 months, Kennett has nearly doubled its employment of women – which has been paying back in spades. The diversity, unrivalled knowledge, skills, innovation and leadership that the women of our organisation bring to the table has contributed to significant growth, financially and culturally. We are in the process of increasing women in the workplace through initiatives including our Graduate Program, where we hope to employ a range of construction graduates and continue to encourage women to pursue a career in construction by paving pathways to employment” says Executive Director of Corporate & Strategy, James Kennett

The theme for the 2022 International Women’s Day is #breakthebias. Meet some of our employees who #breakthebias on a regular basis:

Tracey Jones, Business Development Manager

“There’s nothing better than working with clients and consultants, discussing what’s possible with their project and how our team can bring that to life. I love working with our estimating team (who I think are absolute champions) to provide a quality submission and ultimately, win the project. My role is diverse, challenging and allows me to work across the entire business in a senior leadership role.

I’ve worked in a number of senior leadership roles in organisations where I’m often the only female manager at the table. I’m proud to support women in the workplace and mentor them into leadership roles and career advancement opportunities, providing them with the insight and learnings from my own career. I’ve encouraged and promoted many women into leadership roles within my teams and get a real kick out of seeing them achieve amazing things.

Women in leadership, especially in this sector, help break the bias of a long-standing culture of construction being a male-driven career. As more women join leadership roles, this industry is changing and we see improved culture and greater equality. I think it’s vitally important to encourage change in the workplace, especially in the construction industry, by galvanizing others to be inclusive and diverse. Bias can be combatted through a variety of ways. From the way we use language, through to recruitment, selection and retention of women in the workforce. It starts with engaging the entire workforce and having open conversations and training so we can all understand how to identify bias and change the way we behave.”

Tella Wise, Marketing & Public Relations

“My role is Marketing & Public Relations, I ensure that all of Kennett’s brand touch points for external communication, including but not limited to, social media, website, press releases and submissions are in line with our brand guidelines. Coming from a marketing agency that specialises in property marketing, the transition to construction was natural. The more I learn about this industry, and how the market operates, the more I envisage a long-term career in the field.

The gender disparity in the construction industry is not unrecognised by firms or the sector at large. The great thing about Kennett is their proactive approach to addressing the issue – tangible goals for employing women in construction, for both site and office-based roles. Aside from direct employment, gender bias and discrimination in the workforce can be combatted by a female presence in senior leadership roles.

The opportunity to work so closely with a female Senior Manager, who influences and impacts the workplace regularly, has accelerated my knowledge, motivation and instilled confidence in my own ability – allowing me to deliver better outcomes for the organisation. To work for a company that fosters diversity in the workplace, for its merit rather than tokenistic value, is so important.

Outside of the workplace, I #breakthebias by training most days for SANFL. A huge commitment that Kennett has been extremely supportive of since the beginning of my employment.”

Courtney Ninnes, Office Manager & Reception

“My role is Office Manager and Reception, ensuring smooth operations of the business. I provide extensive support to the General Manager of our Victoria office which has given me exposure to all aspects of a project – from conception to completion. Coming into this industry as an undergraduate (Bachelor of Business, Management), I never would have imagined developing such a passion for the industry that I would decide to specialise in Construction Management.

Working closely with a female Senior Manager at Kennett gives me aspiration for career progression in construction, a pathway that didn’t occur to me before working at Kennett. The industry definitely lacks opportunity and education around career pathways for women, which could be addressed by seeing more female leadership in the industry, something that Kennett is building the foundations for.

I #breakthebias by promoting opportunities for women to progress their career in a male-dominated industry.”

Anita Hourigan, Graphic Design & Visual Identity

“My role at Kennett is creative, despite being in the construction industry which is a typically male-dominated sector. My professional background is in advertising and graphic design and I have run my own graphic design business for over 10 years. My title at Kennett is Visual Identity & Graphic Designer so I am responsible for the overall visual identity of the Kennett brand and its execution across print, digital, signage, submissions, internal documents & communications.

I am one of a few creatives in this office, so I have a skillset that is unfamiliar to many. I #breakthebias by upholding a high level of professionalism within this largely isolated position with my male co-workers. I respect their expertise and they respect mine.

Women in leadership in the construction industry is an essential part of breaking the bias. Construction is one of the most male dominated industries and the only way to change this is with women in leadership positions. Important programmes encouraging young women into construction related university degrees is a great place to begin. I think younger people are already challenging the gender divide in all sectors, as well as supporting the close the gender pay-gap movement. Combatting gender bias and discrimination has to come from the top level of Directors & Executives and it needs to be practiced. Brand advocates are also a great way to influence and guide staff about the company’s core values and ethics. Accountability is an important part of ensuring staff understand that they are responsible for their actions and should always be respectful with their team members.”

Tracy-Lee Wilton, Systems Administrator

“My role at Kennett is the Systems Administrator where I work closely with the Systems Team Leader to ensure our systems are in accordance with Kennett guidelines and legislative requirements, for example Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) audits and ISO compliance. I prepare internal audits and update all standard forms for compliance. I participate in meetings to work towards maintaining and improving our systems.

I joined Kennett Builders as a Receptionist & Administration Assistant. During three years in the role, I familiarised myself with the operative side of the organisation and up-skilled to the point where I was offered a new opportunity. I #breakthebias by immersing myself in every task that comes before me, continuing to develop my skill set and excel in the construction industry – something I never expected would happen.

Women are known to be good communicators and good team players, we are often expected to juggle many facets of life and this prepares us for doing just that in the workplace. Female employees should be given equal opportunities and equal pay. If an employee has the experience, skill set and qualifications, there should be no discrimination regardless of gender. The gender bias and discrimination should be dealt with from beginning of a person’s life. In a professional setting, I believe it is essential to treat both male and female colleagues with respect regardless of their role or position.”

Interested in learning more about International Women’s Day?

Check out some resources below: