Name: Whitney Bevan
Position: Lecturer in Construction Management
Company: Robert Gordon University
Country: Scotland, United Kingdom
What does International Women’s Day mean to you, and why is it important?
It is a day to recognise the achievements of women, further highlighting the future opportunities for women and bringing together positivity for gender equality.
The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge; how will you help forge a gender equal world?
For me, I try to raise awareness of the challenges associated with achieving equality. I saw a quote last week that talked about the ‘right kind of hard.’ This is what it means to me to #ChooseToChallenge. It may mean having an awkward conversation around the need for equality or taking action against inequality. It can be difficult, but it’s the right step forward.
When it comes to your current role in the broader construction sector, what are the biggest challenges and opportunities?
I have come across challenges in raising awareness around the types of roles available for women in the construction industry, along with helping students understand the opportunities that are within their reach. However, the benefits of my role are when I am able to reach out to female students and encourage them to strive towards their career of choice, helping them realise their potential and impact within the industry.
How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in the broader construction sector?
I think it will help enormously if women can discuss what roles are available within the construction sector, focusing on how to actually gain the skills, experience and knowledge needed to succeed (possibly having this discussion earlier within education). I also think that women need to be supported in terms of their confidence in pursuing these roles because they are possible and like all roles, there are learning curves (everyone is a beginner when they start out).
What advice would you give to any young women thinking about starting their career in the broader construction sector?
I would say to have confidence in your ability to work hard and if needed in your capability to enhance your skills within that role. I also would suggest surrounding themselves with people that encourage their potential, as I have had amazing female colleagues who were wonderful mentors when I needed them. Sometimes having one person in your corner, backing you, can work wonders for self-belief.
What will success look like for you at the end of the year? What will make you think that 2021 has been a successful year for you career-wise?
I have recently started a new lectureship at Robert Gordon University. I hope to engage with my new students and be approachable as a mentor, lecturer and colleague, building strong working relationships and a network within the industry for future student visits and research opportunities.