International Women’s Day: Building a more equal foundation
08 Mar 2023

International Women’s Day: Building a more equal foundation

International Women’s Day on 8th March provides the perfect opportunity to highlight achievements and #EmbraceEquality – the theme for 2023 – and one business that’s celebrating change this year is Housebuilding Western.

In the last 12 months, the region – which builds Bovis Homes in South Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Wales – now has an equal ratio of male and female directors, with a newly appointed female managing director at the helm.

Emma Colin, 38, is responsible for 142 employees and is joined on the board by Rachael Humphreys, regional land director; Sarah Sperring, regional customer service director; and Sue Scholfield, regional sales and marketing director, who also won the national Housebuilder of the Year Star Award in 2021.

Emma commented: “International Women’s Day is important as it enables us to take a step back to reflect on our successes and review how we can make improvements to ensure our place of work is inclusive and provides equal opportunities for all.

“I’m proud Housebuilding Western has an equal number of male and female directors. Having a balanced board provides different perspectives; we’re constantly learning from each other and it’s wonderful to see these different approaches having a positive effect on the working environment.

“In this day and age, having a balanced workforce should be the norm but in construction that is not the case. 34 per cent of all of our employees at Vistry are female, compared to the industry’s 15 per cent average, but there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure we attract and retain a more diverse workforce. I feel the responsibility to call out behaviour, showcase best practise and be open about any struggles, so we can help spread change.”

Vistry places a strong emphasis on addressing imbalance and has an active Diversity and Inclusion working group and committee, which promotes equality and represents minority groups throughout the business.

Emma added: “It’s great to see change happening. On the last site visit we held for UWE Bristol, we were really encouraged to see two thirds of the building surveying students were female. I’m really excited about the future at Vistry and will continue to champion change by encouraging more women into the industry – it’s a brilliant, dynamic place to work. This year, the Western region will deliver over 500 properties across a range of developments, including large dual-branded consortium sites, joint venture schemes and our first development in Wales.”

Ways Vistry Group has implemented change:

• Between 2021-2022, Vistry promoted 11 females into director posts across the business

• Supported the use of the agile working policy to enable hybrid working

• Joined the ‘Women into Construction’ organisation, which has helped recruit women into all roles in the business

• Run events hosted by the ‘Women’s Network’ to promote the profile of women in construction

• Delivered recruitment training, which included the topic of ‘unconscious bias’ to support fair and consistent recruitment practice

• Analysed data on progression and pay gaps, particularly in light of the impact of Covid, and produced action plans

• The company’s maternity leave policy has been reviewed and improved and the menopause guide sets out the support available to employees

For further information on International Women’s Day visit http://www.internationalwomensday.com

References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith, Vistry Ventures or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.

All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.