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International Women’s Day: ‘Louder voice’ from women will help everyone at work, watchdog bosses say

Two of the Government’s most senior officials regulating industry believe the ‘louder voice’ from a new generation of women will make everyone at work feel more comfortable.

Sarah Albon and Lisa Pinney MBE say that while progress has been made, women working in heavy industry today are still provided with ill-fitting protective equipment and unsuitable welfare facilities while working on site.

The chief executives of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Coal Authority respectively, regulating traditionally male-dominated sectors, were speaking ahead of International Women’s Day.

“As more and more women join these industries, they’ll become a louder voice,” said Sarah Albon, who leads HSE.

“With just little bit of thought – and you see our best companies do this – more places can make those extra few steps, not to make a woman feel that she has to ask, or somebody is doing her a favour, but just to make her feel as comfortable and on an equal footing with all of her male colleagues,” she continued.

Improving conditions on site will benefit men too, Sarah Albon added: “Because when I look at some of these sites, I’d say it’s not suitable for anyone. But it’s the fact that women are coming in and looking at it, perhaps with 21st century eyes and saying, ‘you expect me to put up with that?’ ”

“Men have perhaps just become ingrained and used to it in those heavy industries over decades and decades. But that right to have dignity at work, it applies to all of us, men and women.”

“You feel like you’re wearing a tent”

Lisa Pinney, chief executive of the Coal Authority, sympathised with how difficult not being comfortable at work can be. “It’s so much about confidence. If you’re meeting on site or if you’re doing something and you’ve got sleeves down to the floor and feel like you’re wearing a tent, it really affects your confidence in terms of being able to do the best job that you can do.”

Both women started their careers when they were in a significant minority, and overcame barriers to progress.

But the inequality once denied Lisa a job: “I didn’t get a job once because they didn’t have women’s toilets. I was the top candidate, but they wouldn’t have me on site.”

“We have come a long way”, added Sarah, “but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Click here for the full press release

 

Channel website: http://www.hse.gov.uk

Original article link: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2024/03/08/international-womens-day-louder-voice-from-women-will-help-everyone-at-work-watchdog-bosses-say/?utm_source=hse.gov.uk&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=press-channels-push&utm_term=iwd-2024&utm_content=news-page

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