For Women in Construction Week it seemed fitting to have one of our Logistics Manager, Clare Meehan, share her top tips on how to excel in the industry as a woman.

 Changing Attitudes, Building Acceptance

“It is so important and vital to recognise where the construction industry is in its attitudes towards women in construction, and hear from the women working in the industry so that it can continue to build and grow in its ethics and acceptance."

Embracing Change and Support

"Being in the construction industry for 5 years I have already noticed in such a short period a big change in attitudes, schemes, and the amount of women on site. I remember my first day on site as a Forklift Driver. I was driving through the site and a grounds worker genuinely stopped and stared with shock for the entire time I slowly drove past him. It wasn’t the last reaction like that but there has been a decrease in reactions and increase in support."

Navigating Challenges and Finding Support

"Whenever I start a new site, I get feelings of anxiety with the internal monologue going wild ‘will I be taken seriously, will someone say something inappropriate, who will support me’. This monologue is gradually fading with time and experiencing the support that is out there because there is support out there. Whether that support be an organisation like ‘Women into construction’ who offer advice and support, or a caring colleague who wants to listen, understand, and help be a part of the positive change."

Thriving in the Industry

"I am happy in this industry, and I am still here. I have worked in many industries, and none have had as many different opportunities for growth and progression as construction has. Through my experiences as a woman in construction I have picked up some pointers that have helped me and I’d like to share some in the hopes that it can help other women stay in this industry or inspire them to join!”

Empowering Women at O’Neill & Brennan

At O'Neill & Brennan, we're committed to empowering women in construction. As proud Gold members of 'Women into Construction,' we actively support diversity and inclusion initiatives, creating an environment where women can thrive and excel. 

Clare's Tips:


1. Get to Know Your Support System

Most companies now have their own support systems set up for women such as social values teams. If a company does not have one they may be linked to a scheme that supports women in construction. You can ask your supervisor or manager for this information. If you do not feel like you can talk to them about this, there are also many external projects that can support you such as Women into Construction.


2. Asking for Help is not a Weakness

I used to think that asking for help was a weakness but I wanted to progress and the only way I could do that was by learning. Observational learning can only take you so far. When I started asking for help I never felt like I wasn’t taken seriously or was thought of any less. It helped me get to where I am now.


3. Socialising

I was once told that the real work in construction is done in the pub, ‘networking’ as some may call it. I always refused to accept this was a factor in how I would progress. Team building is important but there is more than one way to do it. A female on my last project was advised by her directors to learn golf so they would be invited to social events and it would be good for their progress in the company... no comment necessary! If you want to socialise that is absolutely fine but don’t feel pressured into something because you think it is the only way you can progress.


4. Reporting

Once you know your support system, should anything happen on site you will know a safe place you can turn to. The TFL signs about sexual harassment were mocked when they first started but I feel like they were very accurate.

Touching, staring, and inappropriate language are all forms of behaviour that can be reported. This can ensure your safety, and help someone else to understand how to appropriately act. It can feel daunting to report something, but if you have to consider it, it’s probably worth reporting or having that conversation with a trusted person.


5. Be Prepared for Unintentional Sexist Terminology

I am so bored of receiving emails that start with ‘gents’. Some people are catching on quicker than others and some terms almost seem stuck solid in cement like ‘handyman’ or signs saying ‘men at work’.

Although the insustry is catching up, some things get overlooked by accident. If you feel like you can, then raise the issues when you notice them. Help be the change you want to see.


6. It's Just a Job

Look after yourself. Work is a huge part of your life but not the only part. Make time for you and your health. This will help to not resent work and can gain a healthier and happier mind set.