In August, we went on a team outing to see the Barbie Movie. It’s a brilliant, brave film that surprises and is sometimes hard to watch, especially Gloria (America Ferrera's) monologue on the societal pressures and double standards women must deal with.
The Barbie Movie had resonance for the females here. Many of us remember a time when we were determined to “fit in” with the male culture of the construction industry. We thought we needed to maintain a certain uniform: suits and shirts. Sasha wouldn’t wear a skirt for the first fifteen years of her career in case being too feminine would count against her.
But the film reminds us that Barbie has been an astronaut, a political candidate and a lawyer. In fact, she’s had 200 jobs. Nevertheless, she is still Barbie. Looks (nor any other earned or learned facet) do not determine capability and it’s wonderful to exist in times when this is finally recognised. So we enjoyed the way the film took the Barbie doll cliché and turned it into a strength.
That’s why we were delighted to receive our pink high-vis vests at the same time! We quite like being noticed being different; it’s okay to have an individual approach to accepted norms as long as the purpose (in this case safety) is achieved.
Buildings need thousands of people with different skills to create and retrofit them, from someone to think about it, someone to design the components, someone else to specify complex wiring and pipework, others to bring everything together, and those who oversee the lot.
It is vitally important that everyone focuses their energy in providing their best work, not waste it trying to fit into an outdated mould.
Or, in other words: “Happy people = happy work”