Inspiring change and shattering stereotypes

Inspiring change and shattering stereotypes image

GRAHAM colleagues Emer Murnaghan and Attracta Matthews jointly delivered a compelling presentation on “growing an inclusive culture” at the inaugural Women in Construction NI Summit last night (Thursday 5th March).

The event, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast, was hosted by CITB NI, the Industry Training Board for the construction industry, and CITB NI Women in Construction Network.

The focus of the summit was on “inspiring change and shattering stereotypes”, and centred on two separate strands:

• Career Management and Progression - directed at women currently in the construction industry
• Applying the Business Case for Diversity – directed at companies, senior management and HR professionals.

Inspirational stories

Attendees were treated to inspirational stories, business advice and thought-provoking tips on career management at the conference, which featured contributions from leading industry professionals.

Emer and Attracta explained the importance of “Fairness, Inclusion and Respect”, and how we are actively cultivating a FIR culture where everyone feels valued and respected for their contribution.

“At GRAHAM, FIR is a business priority that is not driven by just legislative requirements. It is also the pillar of our people strategy. There is strong evidence that FIR can be harnessed to enact positive business change. Of course, positive change takes time, but we are leading by example and playing a prominent role in promoting FIR and growing an inclusive culture, which was the basis of our presentation,” explained Emer.

Attract, recruit, retain

Reflecting on the inaugural Women in Construction NI Summit, Barry Neilson, Chief Executive CITB NI, said:

“With an ageing workforce, a skills shortage and the increasing use of new technologies, there has never been a better time to encourage more diversity in construction. Increasing the talent pool and making it easier for women and other underrepresented populations to not just join the industry but to remain in the industry, is common sense for any employer. Given that it has been proven that more diversity in the workforce and particularly in leadership positions, can lead to higher profits and more innovation, it makes good business sense too.”


The summit coincided with International Woman’s Day, which takes place this Sunday (8th March). This year we’re encouraged to continue to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements under the ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ theme.

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.