2018 is a milestone year as it marks 100 years since women in the UK were given the right to vote as part of the Representation of the People’s Act.
At Wates we want to use this historic anniversary as a catalyst for promoting equality of opportunity for women across our industry. Throughout 2018 we are running a campaign called #100for100, where we will feature 100 women from across the business at all levels – providing a window into the daily working lives of our female colleagues and a platform for their views.
Our latest entrant is below. Plus, you can see all current featured employees here
Introduce yourself for us
Hi, my name is Laura Palmer and I’m a site surveyor for Wates Construction.
How long have you been in your current role?
I’ve been in my current role as a site surveyor for 3 and half years now and with the company nearly 9 years in total. However I did take a gap year to travel mid-way through my service.
What brought you to Wates?
The company I worked for prior to Wates were very old fashioned and I wanted to seek out fresh, equal opportunities in a larger company which presented great opportunities for me to have a flourishing career.
What advice would you give to women entering the industry?
If you are interested in a career in construction, whether it be surveying, engineering, bricklaying or window fitting, do it! Don’t let anyone stop you. Follow your desires and passions and don’t conform to society and their stereotypical traits, break the moulds and help the movement.
Who are your role models?
Just over a year ago I was shortlisted for the Women in Construction & Engineering Awards and I had to do a speech. In my research for this speech I came across an article about a lady by the name of Katherine Switzer who truly inspired me.
In 1967 Katherine ran and finished the Boston marathon in the USA, shortly after passing the finish line she had her number torn from her back and was disqualified because women were not permitted to run the race.
Since 1967 Katherine has actively worked with many groups and organisations to improve women’s rights and promote equality. Eventually in 1972 Boston allowed women to compete officially, after 5 years of campaigning.
In 2017 to mark the 50 year anniversary of her first marathon and to celebrate the huge progression for equal rights she helped achieve, at the age of 70 she ran and finished the same marathon again….. and finished it in 4 hours 44 minutes and 31 seconds just 25 minutes slower than back in 1967!
She wore her original number 261 which is retired by race organisers in Boston for and in honour of Katherine only, to celebrate her huge success, influence and steps towards equality .
What changes would you like to see in 100 years time?
Wow! In 100 years’ time the world will be so different. I cannot even predict the changes that are going to take place, just look back 100 years from where we are now…… there were no cars, women couldn’t vote and the average life expectancy was 50 years.
But in terms of equal rights for men and women this needs to happen in a much shorter timeframe than 100 years. We need to tackle the equality issues so our very distant ancestors are still not victim to inequality. In the future it should merely be a subject they speak about in history classes in schools.