Employees at Vistry East Midlands have shown their support for a global campaign aimed at calling out gender bias and inequality.
Staff at the housebuilder’s divisional office in Peterborough posted photos of themselves raising a hand for the Choose To Challenge campaign taking place as part of International Women’s Day.
The event, which is held on 8 March every year, is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as a call to action for gender parity.
This year’s theme is Choose To Challenge, with women and men across the world being invited to share images of themselves striking a pose on social media to encourage others to commit to forging a more inclusive society.
Dina Pittore, marketing manager for Vistry East Midlands, led the housebuilder’s sales department’s involvement in the campaign, having been inspired by the prominence given to International Women’s Day in her home country of Russia where it is celebrated as a national holiday.
She said: “International Women’s Day is deeply embedded within Russian culture. It is a beloved national holiday and I have found it strange that it doesn’t have the same level of recognition here in the UK. I am therefore very pleased that Vistry is supporting this campaign to establish women’s rights and I have been encouraging members of our team to get involved.
“The Choose To Challenge Campaign is a great way for Vistry colleagues to take part in this global movement and to highlight the success we have achieved in challenging female stereotypes in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.”
Female staff members either on site or office-based at Vistry will be gifted a symbolic ‘bead wish’ bracelet or customary tulip design to celebrate International Women’s Day, which is something of a tradition within the East Midlands division.
Vistry East Midlands is part of Vistry Group, which comprises Linden Homes, Bovis Homes and Vistry Partnerships.
Some of the staff at Vistry East Midlands have already pledged their support to the Choose To Challenge campaign, including sales manager Weronika Maslak and sales advisor Joel Tedham.
Weronika said: “I will forge positive visibility of women”, while Joel said: “I will challenge gender stereotypes and bias.”
Vistry Group employs women in a wide range of roles across all departments, challenging the outdated perception that housebuilding is an industry just for men.
Dayna Toulson, 21, from Peterborough, has been working as a technical management trainee for the East Midlands division since August 2018, and is currently studying part-time towards a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in construction management at University Centre Peterborough.
She said: “The construction field has a reputation for being quite a male-dominated industry – I want to change that by proving that women can succeed in the field too. Vistry is a great place to work for achieving this goal, as they support equal opportunities for men and women.”
Rosie Howard, 41, from Bourne, switched from working as a customer care professional to becoming a trainee site manager at the end of last year, and says her experience has proved to be very different from the stereotypes often associated with construction sites.
Rosie said: “I was used to working with mainly women colleagues, so I was a bit nervous to start working on the construction site which is obviously quite a different environment. There was absolutely no need to worry because everyone has been friendly and welcoming.”
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