Today marks International Women’s Day, a chance to champion and recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. Whilst it’s an important day to recognise success, it also provides an opportunity to raise awareness for equality.

Each year, there is a different theme for International Women’s Day, and this year the day is centered on the theme of Choose to Challenge. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements and help create an inclusive world.

Equality, inclusion and diversity are at the very heart of the Langley’s ethos. Today is a day to celebrate the inspirational women in our team and below we asked Poonam Patel, our Cost Consultant what it is like to be a woman working in construction and what International Women’s Day means to her.

Poonam Patel 3 768x960Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself Poonam
I am originally from the North but have lived in London for the past 6 years. In 2013, I graduated from University with a degree in Quantity Surveying and Construction Commercial Management and have since pursued a career in this field. I have built on my experience and the next key goal for me is to achieve MRICS status and climb the career ladder.

What was it that attracted you to the construction industry?
After I completed work experience at school, I knew I didn’t want to be in a traditional office role and I liked the idea of being able to work on different projects and sites. I liked the idea of being able to look at something physical and feel satisfied knowing that I’ve had a role in that particular project.

What do you see as the main challenges for women working in the construction industry and what changes would you like to see?
In my opinion, there is a stigma attached to the construction industry and people’s perception of it, is that it is male dominated. Whilst this is true, I can see from my time in industry that there are more women emerging. I’d like to see this continue and see women in a variety of roles and more women in senior positions.

Are there any women working in the industry who inspire you and why?
Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to work around a number of women in Director positions, who have been key in my journey and shown me that you can be successful. In turn, this has given me confidence to aim high.

Which other women (or men) in your life inspire you (professionally and personally) and why?
My parents are my biggest inspiration when I look back and reflect on the journey that they have been on and the challenges that they faced. They have taught me the importance of hard work, both personally and professionally.

Do you have a favourite quote/mantra that you use to motivate yourself with?
My favourite quote is “When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell. This reminds me not to dwell on what I cannot change but instead to focus on the opportunities ahead of me.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can make a difference on International Women’s Day and beyond, please visit the website here.