SeamonWhiteside (SW+), a full-service land design firm throughout the Carolinas, is offering strategies for companies to develop work environments that support female employees in recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8th. These actionable tips are aimed to foster an environment where women are better supported and mentored in their careers.
Occupational sectors, such as the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, have been slow to close the gender gap, with women currently representing an estimated 14 percent of civil engineers. SeamonWhiteside has been a leader, in the largely male-dominated AEC industry, in creating a workplace to support women in reaching their full potential. Their company-wide Women’s Initiative was founded to foster a diverse community of female mentors, role models and mentees while providing support, education, and advocacy opportunities.
“The Women’s Initiative was established as an example for other AEC firms in developing female leadership skills through mentorship, advocating for equity, influencing policy change, and encouraging female employee retention,” says Lia Contursi, Marketing Manager and Co-Founder of the Women’s Initiative at SeamonWhiteside. “We need to start educating firms, especially those in male-dominated industries, on the benefits of employing women and actionable strategies to create a workplace that supports women employees while increasing retention. These strategies are the first steps in closing the gender gap that has been around far too long.”
To help companies create a workplace for women to thrive, SeamonWhiteside compiled five actionable strategies to educate, support, and mentor female employees.
1. General Awareness & Equal Opportunities for Career Advancement
Recognize the importance of equal representation in the office. This includes hiring female employees and promoting women to leadership positions. Upper management should have frequent conversations to discuss transparent career paths and advancement opportunities with female employees.
2. Build Supportive Communities to Retain Female Employees
Creating a community similar to SeamonWhiteside’s Women’s Initiative will provide women with resources and support to develop skills and advocate for one another. Offering company-wide workshops with guest speakers will help identify gender inequity and the importance of workplace diversity.
3. Leadership Training Access
Allow equal opportunity access to internal and external leadership training. Like their male counterparts, women need to learn and develop the necessary skills to be fully equipped to hold a leadership role.
4. Increase Outreach
Encourage female employees to attend career fairs to show female students the possibilities in Civil Engineering and other male-dominated industries they may not hear about otherwise.
Offer new female hires opportunities to shadow other females in higher positions. This will expose them to future opportunities and boost morale for young women. A great guiding principle is “if you can see it, you can be it.”
To learn more about SeamonWhiteside and its Women’s Initiative, visit www.seamonwhiteside.com.
SeamonWhiteside (SW+) is a full-service land design firm providing master planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, urban design services and permit coordination to public and private clients throughout the Carolinas. SW+ believes that crafting great places is achieved by blending a deep understanding of a client’s vision, strong relationships, collaborative design, and a passionate team. This approach results in innovative spaces that enrich lives and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. Headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, SeamonWhiteside also has offices in Summerville, Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information on SW+, visit www.seamonwhiteside.com.