Calls build for more female role models in Scottish firms

FEMALE representation remains stubbornly low in Scotland’s construction sector, according to a body set up to get more women into the industry.

Networking organisation Women in Property celebrated its 25th anniversary last month, but Jane Meneely, chairman of the group’s central Scotland branch association, said that women still make up just 15 per cent of the workforce.

Meneely, a senior associate at Hypostyle Architects in Glasgow, said the industry needs more role models.

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She added: “Organisations need to look at their workforce and make sure there’s a good supply of women on the career path. There’s no point in tokenism; it has to be on merit.”

Her comments were echoed by the head of another initiative to increase the number of women in senior business roles, which will be launched at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Helen Cook, human resources director for corporate banking at Royal Bank of Scotland, will chair the Scottish branch of the Two Per Cent club, which is already operating in England.

Cook rejects the suggestion of a Norwegian-style quota system and instead wants to see companies develop “a pipeline of female talent to deliver sustainable change”.

Lord Davies of Abersoch, who carried out a review for the UK government, has called for FTSE 100 boards to be at least 25 per cent female by 2015. According to the Department for Business, women currently make up 16.7 per cent of FTSE 100 boards, up from 12.5 per cent in 2010. Norway has already adopted quotas.

Cook said: “It’s about having role models and a flexible working environment. Setting the tone from the top and having senior sponsorship across industry and sector is fundamental.”