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WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION

Emma Gibson, 31, works for Bluestone. Having just returned from maternity leave she is working part time supporting a contracts manager on a number of different projects

WHEN I was at school I chose to do my work experience placement at a large development.

I was in the quantity surveyor's office but I kept sticking my head out of the windows to see what was happening on site.

I went to an all-girls school and the teachers thought it was rather unusual that I wanted to go into construction but they were very encouraging.

It was a bit of an eye-opener going from that to the male-dominated world of the building site but it was easy to get used to and I've always felt very accepted. I've never pretended I knew everything but if you do know something you have to stand your ground and then you gain respect.

I have two children and returned from maternity leave two months ago. Having children has stalled my career slightly in that just before my second I was site managing my own project, which I had to leave after a few months, but hopefully as they get older I can come back to that role.

Bluestone has been very supportive and found me alternative work. Most people I speak to say I've been very lucky but because there aren't that many women in construction, I think companies aren't always given the opportunity to show that they can be f lexible. If you are rated by your employer most will be helpful. Const ruct ion companies aren't always the monsters people think they are.

I would like to continue on the path I've started ? site management and project management. I don't feel there are barriers to stop me moving up.

I'm not naïve. I know that the fact I have children and won't want to be leaving work at 9 pm could stand in my way but I have a very understanding husband who knows how much I love my work and we can balance careers. I think more men should think about their work-life balance.

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