#SEX…

Please excuse the blatant attempt at headline grabbing. You might have seen this before….pressed the publish button too soon! Oooops….indeed.

In accordance with the British Board of Blog Classification, this post has been classified 18 – for adults only, and contains adult themes, including, sex, violence, blood, gore and hopefully something that might make you think…

It seems we might have a problem with sex….so it’s time for a chat.

You might have seen Su Butcher’s excellent post:

http://www.justpractising.com/blog/

If not take a look! :o)

“Sexism in Construction Awards – Not just a joke” – I wasn’t at the awards in question, but from what i’ve heard, what was reported and the reactions that have been posted I’d like to make a few observations.

Gender equality

Clearly we have a problem in the industry. And my guess is if you’re a woman then you’ll know what I mean.

Let’s be clear – I’m male, british white european, of the Baby Boomer generation so I’ve lived through stuff and I’m a well qualified professional. I would call myself a reconstructed dinosaur! I’m trying to keep up with the transformation in our industry, but when I started out they’d just finished the pyramids…..

BIM and Design Management are the most important issues for me personally. But strangely they both involve people working together, collaborating. In fact all our industry, what ever subjects are important to you, involves people working together too. Surprisingly, people includes women and men – and we come in all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes, preferences and personalities. It would be boring otherwise, we are not robots off a production line. It is our gifting and diversity that make the difference – our humanity, our human-ness.

However, over and above BIM and DM, to me transformation of our industry is so important, critical even. If we do not begin to really change then soon we will have no industry to argue about. No-one will join, people will leave to get better careers elsewhere.

Now this isn’t just about BIM and DM. It is gender equality, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, the environment, safety and quality to name but a few issues. Our industry is under fire from many directions. And rightly so.

Don’t we want an industry that is fairer, great to work in, that’s good for people, our communities and the environment? Why then do the silent majority put up with the way we are? Why aren’t we more angry? Frustrated? Until we feel it, we won’t do anything.

Lots of people talk about “industry” doing this or that or being responsible. Well just who is “industry”.

I’ve news for you, it’s me and you. We need to do something. Oh yes, of course there will be a working party or a report. And a few worthies will say what a terrible thing happened. Then we’ll go quietly on our way again as before.

As Su rightly points out, clearly this isn’t just within it’s outside as well. The perception is out there that our industry is sexist, and charged with testosterone. So a few racy jokes or scantily clad females playing violins are quite ok. Unfortunately white van man, wolf whistles and builder’s bum are more prominent as an image of our industry.

It’s time for a change. We need to put our house in order. After all this is 2015 not 1815. Surely progression and respect should be based on ability, skill and performance, not the colour of your skin, language, religion, sexual preference or whether you were born with a penis or vagina.

In a typically British manner we hope things will gradually improve, and perhaps they will, if we all could possibly live long enough. As we know doing the same things, gets the same old results. Another reason for change.

A new balance

A number of great women that I’ve worked with , don’t want quotas or the scales tipped in their favour. They want to get ahead on their performance and merit, slug it out toe to toe, fair enough.

I understand that but as a white male in a male dominated industry I do wonder? Has the playing field been so unfair for so long that we need to actively make some changes to rebalance this somehow? However, we have many turkeys in our industry and they won’t vote for christmas left to their own devices. I’m left wondering how we can rectify something that’s so obviously so wrong.

It will be interesting to see if anyone in a senior position in “industry” actually puts their head above the parapet to speak out on this one. The people who organise these events like this need to take a good look in the mirror. In an evening when we should be celebrating the very best in an industry, we’ve sent out a very different message and communicated the wrong values.

Make a difference

The lie is that we cannot make a difference.

The truth is we can.

The smallest of positive actions can have massive consequences. So I’m sure there is something YOU and I can do….!

Big shout out to #womeninbim  @womeninbim

Cheers :o)

JOHN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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