02 December 2019

The region’s brightest and most forward-thinking
companies and individuals were recognised on the third day of The Big 5 as the
winners of both the Women
in Construction (WIC) Awards were announced. As Middle East and Africa’s
largest and most important meeting place for the global construction community,
The Big 5 mega-event recognised those making a positive impact on the sector by
fostering collaboration, supporting best practices, and provide effective
solutions to today’s industry challenges.

The second edition of The Big
5’s Women in Construction (WIC)
Forum & Awards 
was a much-anticipated highlight of day three aimed at addressing the
need to reinvent gender balance, diversity & inclusion (D&I) policies
and best practices in the workplace while empowering women in the
male-dominated construction sector. The packed audience was given a 360-degree
overview of the current issues faced and the new initiatives undertaken to push
the industry forward.

Dr Shetha Alzubaidi, Chief Executive
Officer & Partner at Brookson Project Management and judge of the Women in
Construction Awards, said: “Women are often under-represented in the fields of
engineering, both in the academia and in the profession of engineering.
However, women working in construction are on the increase. With a concerted
effort from key industry players, there is a chance that more women will view a
career in construction as a great one.”

Jessica Rigley, Area Staff
Manager from BAM International, took home the win in the coveted Women
in Leadership
 category at the WIC Awards. The judges commended her 20+
years of experience in leading more than 200 staff as well as her pioneering
role as a woman in HSE, which involved the development of an online HSE
monitoring system, among others achievement.

The Next-Gen Woman of the
 category win went to Layla Kailany, who is an Assistant Project
Manager at Parsons International. Judges felt that it was a combination of her
work on mega-projects and her ability to take responsibility of many aspects of
the project such as managing the design and construction activities,
coordinating with subcontractors, and participating in resolving construction
issues that gave her the win.

Meanwhile, WSP in the Middle East
took home the win for Company of the Year for their D&I
achievements including the introduction of flexible working policies that
resulted in 88% of mothers returning to work after maternity leave, as well as
the use of inclusive language referenced in job adverts resulting in being able
to attract a more diverse workforce – for example, 50+% of graduates and
interns, were female.

This year, supporting the Women
Empowerment Principles (WEPs), an initiative of the UN Women and the UN Global
Compact, the largest sustainability network in the world, The WIC Forum &
Awards also hosted an official Pledge Ceremony for the companies willing to
come together and sign the WEPs.

In line with its commitment to
promote innovation in construction and support promising start-ups, for the
second consecutive year, The Big 5 presents local and international selected
start-ups displaying innovative solutions and pioneering products at the Start-up City, in partnership with CCC (Consolidated Contractors
International Company), Catalyst (a Masdar & BP Initiative), and Wamda.

“In a world where innovation and technology are more and more crucial to remain competitive, the construction sector is still widely considered a late technology adopter. In this context, start-ups play a truly vital role in the sustainable development of the industry, as they inject innovative ideas, creative approaches, and a good dose of entrepreneurial spirit,” said Josine Heijmans, Vice President Construction – dmg events.

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