Getting role models in the industry to talk directly to young men and women is an effective way of changing attitudes, as suggested by Victoria Caesar (Letters, 12 November, page 36).
A roadshow to five universities doing precisely that was piloted by the Housing Forum three years ago. Sadly, despite its acknowledged success, the sponsors – the Construction Industry Training Board and the House Builders Federation – decided not to repeat the programme because there were “other priorities”.
There are other signs of progress, however. Women in the industry are becoming more visible, with an encouraging line-up of 14 female directors in a recent survey and regular coverage of successful women in Building magazine, including last week’s picture of Nadia Riffatt, head of strategic planning in Tripoli, telling consultants the issues they needed to address.
That leads neatly to an issue highlighted by the Latham Working Group back in 1996, namely the increasing role of women as clients and policy makers. Female clients are not simply thirtysomething career women buying their own homes. This is about women starting up businesses at an extraordinary rate; women sitting on the monetary committee of the Bank of England; women taking home big bonuses for turning round the likes of Burberry and successfully project managing multibillion-pound developments such as the revamp of Peter Jones.
So the models are there, the need is certainly there and, thanks to organisations such as the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (www.setwomenresource.org.uk), so too is the hub to co-ordinate and deliver practical help.
Sandi Rhys Jones, corporate affairs adviser, UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology