In September, we attended the inaugural Women in Construction Awards, the brainchild of the wonderful Michaela Wain of Design and Build UK and Hayley Roberts of Cube Lighting and Design. We were totally thrilled to hear that they had chosen to donate all profits from the night to The Maggie Oliver Foundation.
It was pretty shocking to hear that in 2022, Michaela and Hayley are still in such a minority in the construction industry. Women make up around 14% of the workforce, and only 2% of these are actually “on the tools”. The night was a celebration of those women forging their way in such a male dominated space, as well as a chance to reflect on how the industry needs to change to be more inclusive and to encourage more women to take up careers in construction.
When asked why they decided to create the awards, and why they had chosen to support the Foundation through the event, Michaela said, “We decided to start these awards to give women a voice in a heavily male dominated industry, to create role models and ensure women were recognised for the outstanding work they do. We chose to support The Maggie Oliver Foundation because the charity, its beliefs, the people it supports are aligned with our mission, to support women and increase opportunities for those who need them, to try to level the playing field and be the voice for women when there is no one else.
Maggie is an inspiration to all women and men, her self sacrifice in pursuit of truth and justice is admirable and something very few people would be willing to do. If all we can do to support her is donate money and raise her profile then that is what we will do”.
The atmosphere throughout the night was supportive and there was a real buzz around the perspective and potential women bring to the industry. Presenter Nana Akua kept the awards ceremony on track, presenting winners with beautifully handcrafted sculptures from the hugely talented Naomi Bishop. We heard impressive and inspiring stories from nominees and award winners.
When it was the turn of our founder and chair, Maggie Oliver, to speak, the room fell quiet. She told the story of her own inspiring journey and why she started The Maggie Oliver Foundation to support survivors of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE), and to fight for a fit for purpose criminal justice system. Maggie was followed by Oliva Mae Mulqueeny who gave a spine-tingling rendition of Rise Up. Together they got a standing ovation from a crowd where there were very few dry eyes!
While Auctioneer Thomas Forrester got the crowd bidding for lots from Whitewall Gallery, Laurence White and Makita Harwood, Maggie was surrounded by people wanting to support our work. We are so grateful to Michaela and Hayley, not just for the funds raised, but for the opportunity to raise awareness of our work, the injustices faced by survivors of CSAE and to break down stereotypes. Which is really what the whole evening was about!
Speaking about the event Maggie Oliver said, “I always love working with people who are “on my page” and I knew that Michaela was one of those people from the moment I met her. I’m so grateful that she chose to support the Foundation with her brilliant initiative. She has a heart of gold and a sharp mind to match. Thanks so everyone who bought a ticket, to the event sponsors and to everyone who came to say hi on the night or has subsequently got in touch wanting to support our work. Together our growing army will make the world a better place for survivors of CSAE.”
Planning for the Women in Construction Awards 2023 is already underway so if you’d like to know more, contact Design and Build UK. If you are planning an event and would like to support the Foundation’s work through it in some way, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
Please note, our team are taking a short break over Christmas as will not be checking emails regularly. We'll respond once we are back on Tuesday 3rd January. Thank you for understanding.
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