Women in construction

Today, it is still unusual to find women in construction. We would like to stand out one of the exceptions at URSA. Marina explains her work and her daily challenges in an interview in which she claims: "Girls must be empowered to design their future and fight for it"

Women in construction

Describe briefly your professional work and your company, how did you get into the world of construction?

I am responsible for Marketing and Communication at URSA Ibérica, a company dedicated to the manufacture of building insulation materials. I came to the world of construction indirectly and a bit by chance.

Until shortly before I started my degree in Technical Architecture, I didn't have my career priorities clearly defined. I did like science and wanted to acquire technical training, but it was a last-minute decision that I have not regretted.

Once I had finished my degree and with the idea of becoming a Site Manager, I started an interview process in 1993. At that time, Barcelona was going through a period of crisis after the construction boom prior to the previous year's Olympics. During this time I had my first clash with gender prejudice in the sector, as not only was my profile rejected, but the interviewers themselves asked me curiously how such a young girl with good looks could want to be a Site Manager.

I saw an offer in the newspaper in which they were looking for Technical Architects for the Prescription department of Poliglas and since then I have not left the sector. I was never a Site Manager but I discovered the exciting world of building materials to which I have dedicated myself professionally.  

 

Do you think there are still difficulties for women to access management positions in the construction industry? What would you change?

The difficulties are still there. Yes, the comments that used to be made freely have changed and now those in charge of personnel selection are more cautious and politically correct. 

But the difficulties of access remain the same. The percentage of jobs in the sector is still very low. I also believe that in this sector, on a day-to-day basis, women must continually prove their worth and their good work.

 

What do you think about quotas versus individual skills?

I don't like it at all, but as things stand I don't see any other solution. I wouldn't like to think that I got my job because I fit into a quota, rather than because of my professional worth. 

However, many times, the actions that the law obliges us to take, under penalty of a fine, are effective (radars to reduce speed, obligation to wear masks... etc.). In this case, quotas may be a lesser evil to give women access to certain jobs that are currently forbidden to them.

 

Marina Alonso - Marina Alonso - Director of Marketing and Communication at URSA IBÉRICA AISLANTES

How can the education sector and companies themselves encourage women's vocations to enter areas considered male domains?

Education is fundamental and from the very beginning. Both at home and at school, boys and girls need to be educated in the confidence that no job is inappropriate or inaccessible to them because of their gender.

We see that parity for certain jobs is not evolving, because a society that in some respects is still very "patriarchal" is not evolving either. We encounter opposition even from our own mothers who do not see it as a good idea for us to work in jobs that are traditionally men's jobs.

Girls must be empowered to design their future and fight for it.

Companies in the sector also have an important challenge ahead of them in terms of approaching professional training and telling women that there is a place for them in their company.

Carmen Fernández
Press contact

Carmen Fernández

Communication manager URSA Insulation & Iberia

carmen.fernandez@ursa.com