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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Heald

Breaking Barriers: How Proper PPE is Key to Empowering Women in Construction



One of the arguments that I often hear when I'm talking about my mission to increase the number of women and the visibility of women in the construction industry is that women don't want to be in the industry. And that's why we're struggling to increase the numbers.


But the thing is, of course, there are plenty of women who don't want to be in the industry, just like there are plenty of men who don't want to be in the industry. There are also lots of highly talented skilled women who do want to be in the industry, but who are struggling with the issues that they face. This might mean that they are struggling to get into the industry or to stay in the industry. And one of these issues is PPE (personal protective equipment).


Now, I recently had Katherine Evans on my podcast, and she is the founder of Bold as Brass and she is championing the need for PPE that is designed for women, because at the end of the day, PPE has traditionally been designed for men.


And of course, we understand that but moving forward, if we're going to attract and retain more women in the industry, we need to make sure that we're also supplying PPE for women because women, they need differently fitted PPE - we need space for our breasts, we need shorter arms, we need shorter legs, we need narrower shoulders, we need boots that fit properly.


Now I've had to go out obviously and buy my own boots for when I'm on site, because walking around in men's boots doesn't feel safe, just like walking around in men's PPE isn't safe for a woman.


And it's not only about physical safety, it's also about psychological safety. So if a woman is on site, wearing PPE that doesn't fit properly, she's not going to feel as valued, she's probably not going to feel that she matters as much and this is going to impact her psychological safety, which has a huge impact on the way that she's going to perform a job and also how she manages her physical safety. We are making steps forward, which is great.


But if you're in construction and you're wanting to increase the females that you're seeing on site, then maybe consider investing in some PPE that is appropriate for them

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