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International Women’s Day 2021

The campaign theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day is #ChoosetoChallenge.

Written by Fiona

03 Mar, 2021


IWD is a good day to challenge ourselves not only about what we seek to achieve in relation to gender balance at Melin but also more widely, because while we can celebrate that our gender pay gap is zero we know we still have a long way to go, to be a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.

This is why we continue to work with Tai Pawb to build on the QED award accreditation and why we have set a target of increasing the diversity of our workforce.

Paula Kennedy talks about why International Women’s Day is important, and why at Melin we #ChoosetoChallenge.

What does that actually mean and why is it important for Melin?

In essence, diversity in the workplace means that we would employ a workforce that includes people of varying gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, education and abilities, across all areas of our business. But it’s more than just employing a diverse group of new people, it’s about cultivating a more inclusive and accommodating environment that allows our staff to give the best they have to offer regardless of what might make them different from some of their colleagues.

At Melin our diversity challenge differs from team to team, and we want those teams to think about their priorities and what they can do to meet the challenge. It might be a better gender balance in the Asset Team, more people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic group in Housing or more people with a disability in the Culture and Innovation teams. Whatever the focus, our corporate target means that doing nothing is not an option.

Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is absolutely the right thing to do but more than that it makes good business sense. A more diverse workforce gives you more well-rounded teams with access to a range of different perspectives from people who have different lived experiences. These perspectives are far more likely to lead to creative and innovative work, because you’re more likely to come to a unique conclusion if you have many different ideas, outlooks, experiences and opinions coming together. There is also research that attests that diverse teams are able to solve problems more quickly because they come up with a wider range of solutions and are able to assess these solutions in a practical and considered way.

If people feel as though they are being included in an organisation at every level and that their voice is being heard, then they are more likely to feel engaged and remain loyal and committed to that organisation. By letting people know that we respect and value them by our words and actions then we can rely on their commitment to work to achieve the best for us and our residents.

And finally

And finally, good organisations in the 21st century should be an accurate reflection of society. The society in which we live and work is not made up of one gender, one race or one age group and the areas that we live and work in are made of many varied different and distinct people and we at Melin should reflect that. The more diverse voices represented in our workforce, the deeper the level of understanding we will have of a wider variety of our residents and the communities within which they live.

When you consider all of this why wouldn’t you want to challenge yourself to create a diverse and inclusive organisation? #ChooseToChallenge

Emily spoke to us about why she loves her job and #ChooseToChallenge

Emily standing by a Melin van

Emily undertook a painting and decorating apprenticeship with our partners at Y Prentis in 2018 and started within our Melin Maintenance Team while studying towards her NVQ Level 2 in painting and decorating. On completing her qualification, Emily secured full time employment with us as a multi-skilled operative.

I think it’s important for women to hold jobs in construction, to show that women can do anything that men can. If I could give my younger self any advice, it would be to go for it straight away – don’t wait for years because of a lack of confidence.

I choose to challenge the idea that I felt women couldn’t hold jobs in construction, and it is the best move I made. I toyed with the idea of becoming a painter for years, thinking that I couldn’t do it because I’m a girl. I am so glad I #choosetochallenge, I love my career.


Katie spoke to us about why she #ChooseToChallenge and joined us as an electrical apprentice

Katie standing by a Melin van

I volunteered with Melin’s youth group for four years since I was 14. During this time I attended a contractor event and it struck me that the industry was very male dominated. I liked that Melin was passionate about increasing diversity within their workforce, this was something that meant a lot to me too. I volunteered within the electrical team and after a few days decided this was definitely the job for me.

I registered with a work-based learning provider, you have to pass exams that test your Maths and English, but I did it. I only had to wait a few months and an apprenticeship came up and I was successful at the interview.

I have grown in confidence and have set up an Instagram account to inspire others, it is so motivational to have other female electricians like my posts and comment on what a great job I am doing.


You can follow Katie’s journey on Instagram by following @katiethetinyspark


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