Construction Industry Federation
Be A Role Model,

You are a Role Model

Share your story and inspire women and girls with an interest in construction.

Women make up just 8.49% of those working in construction in Ireland. Whether you realise it or not, you have the power to be an inspiring role model to women and girls in the industry. We want to share your inspiring stories to show women the importance of their role in construction.

Your story can help inspire women in the industry and women or girls considering a career in construction. More women in construction will lead to a more productive, diverse and efficient industry and this benefits us all.

Please feel free to pass this request on to others, men and women, who’s story can help inspire a more equal and diverse industry.

Help us in #BuildingEquality by sharing your story here on our website or simply share your story on social media, with a photo, a message or a video using #BuildingEquality and downloading BuildingEquality logo here

Tell us:

Why you chose a career in construction?
How important/helpful have role models been to you throughout your career?
What we need to do to attract more women and girls into the industry?


I always had a love for building and construction form an early age. I lived in the country side and I remember from a young age…

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Patricia Power, Patricia Power Quantity Surveying and Project Management

I chose to study Civil Engineering in NUIG because I loved Maths and problem solving.  As I learnt more and more about Engineering, I thought that I would work in a design office…

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Carole Smillie, Project Manager with Bennett Property

I’ve always be interested in the construction sector, my main interest being sustainable building.

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Sally Jean Doherty, Apprentice Carpenter and Joiner with Sisk

I am motivated by the thrill of leaving a legacy in my work. That is, working on an infrastructure project and years later look back and knowing that I have made a mark.

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Glorence Makharinge, Site Engineer with Marlet Property Group

Who has opened doors in your life? They might not be obvious until much later in life. Here are some stories about my door openers.

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Nellie Reid, Managing Director, Meehan Green

I didn’t even know what a Quantity Surveyor was or what their job involved until I was talking to my Dad on what direction / career path to pursue…

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Catherine Greene, Quantity Surveyor

What attracted me to construction was the continuous growth and innovative nature of the industry. Be it on the job with a project evolving…

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Alice Duffy, SHEQ Administrator

At this stage in my career, I believe construction chose me! I began my career in marketing & communications in food and facilities management, from there moved into the oil business and now to construction.

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Iris Kavanagh, Owner of Pennypop, a Marketing Agency supporting Construction Businesses.

Throughout my career I’ve always chosen to work in companies and industrial sectors where investment in people is high on the leadership agenda. The present growth in our industry is coupled…

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Yvonne O’Sullivan, Head of Talent

chose a career in construction as the only girl with 5 brothers, living in a male dominated environment has always been natural for me. I began my career in construction…

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Sarah McDonnell, Head of Interiors

Being a 5’3 female EHS specialist and arriving on site in my hard hat and Hi-Viz is certainly not the norm. I’m definitely a minority!

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Sorcha Flanagan, EHS Specialist with Wm. O’Brien Crane Hire

As I look forward to graduating in 2019, I am excited about my future in engineering.

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Roseanne Dizon, Student Engineer, Punch Consulting Engineers

Preconceptions never existed in my home. If you really wanted something you pursued it. It was that simple. I feel the construction industry has so much to offer anyone who enters it. It’s challenging, diverse, and rewarding

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Niamh Barry, Manager of Training & Development, Walls Construction

Today, women make up just 6% of the Irish construction industry. What I say to that is don’t wait for anyone’s permission to change the status quo. The opportunities are out there. For instance, at Eaton we’re committed to promoting career paths for women in engineering

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Phil Kane, Country Manager, Eaton Corporation

The work can be challenging, but I delight in the sense of achievement that I feel when I pass by a project and I know I that have been a part of its creation and have contributed something positive to my surroundings.

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Louise O’Neill, Project Manager, John Sisk & Sons Ltd

Its funny how I ended up studying the course. I went in to a presentation on Quantity Surveying at an open day in IT Sligo in my final year of secondary school by accident and the rest is history! I was hooked!

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Aisling Graham, Quantity Surveyor, Flynn Management & Contractors

There needs to be a greater awareness of what the industry entails and can offer young women that possess the skills, interest and potential to flourish.

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Gráinne Egan, Senior Project Manager, John Paul Construction

When I was young my Dad used to take me to work with him on a Saturday. He would give me two blocks on the ground and some mortar to play with and I used to smooth it over the block, I kept doing it over and over.

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Patricia Brouder, Patricia Brouder (Aherne) & Son Plastering Contractors

It isn’t easy being the first of anything, so we will always need that one brave enough to take the first plunge into the dark.

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Johanna Tynys, Product Manager – Electrical Tools & Accessories, Hilti Ireland

I’m lucky to work in a profession that I enjoy and love. I’m committed to help mentor and advice other women who have an interest in developing a career in this sector and plan to hold others accountable to doing the same.

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Edel Corrigan, Senior Health & Safety Manager, Flynn Management & Contractors

Today’s children are the future of this industry (and all industries) but it is the opinions and views of today’s adults that will further the bid to attain gender equality in the Construction Industry for the decades to come.

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Lorraine Power, Senior Project Surveyor, JJ Rhatigan & Company

The first place we need to start is with schools, this means more presentations, more discussions and more school visits for our female role models.

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Leeann Bryan, Business Development Coordinator, Duggan Brothers Ltd

Adjusting our definition of a candidate’s potential as well has how we evaluate her success will require gender-inclusive assessments.

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Marci Bonham, Managing Director, Hilti

Of course, there needs to be more apprenticeships and the government can always do more but there is a real onus on employers.

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Julie Currid, Co-Founder and COO, Initiafy

There is clear evidence that the best performing companies in the world have more women sitting at Board level.

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Tommy Drumm, Managing Director, Collen Construction

We need more early education for girls to provide a more positive guidance to show that the list of possibilities are endless in the construction industry.

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Sinéad Gorman, Project Design Supervisor, Ashview Consultants

Attracting more women and girls is a matter of opening up and showcasing the exciting and varied opportunities we have in construction.

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Elizabeth Kavanagh, Stride Treglown

We need to promote the role models that we have in the industry and keep this conversation going.

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Karen Muldowney, Business Development & Marketing Manager, Manley Construction

The #BuildingEquality campaign is essential to address misconceptions and encourage behaviour change. The industry isn’t just for boys – and it’s important to challenge perceptions

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Aoife Kelly, Digital Marketing Specialist, Hilti Ireland

A Project Director who pushed me from my architectural comfort zone into the world of Project Management saying on a €30 million EPCM project “take the lead you can project manage and you can do it!” I never looked back.

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Lorraine Brady, Design Manager, BAM Ireland

Seeing women succeed in these positions throughout the industry makes it easier for me, and other women to aspire to these positions ourselves.

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Sarah Kennedy, Business Development Manager, EIDA Solutions

STEM subjects can lead to great careers within the construction industry and inform them that there have been many successful females in the construction industry.

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Janice Galbraith, Account Manager – Steel & Metal, Hilti

I finished school at 16 and it took me a while to decide what I wanted to do. On my 18th birthday, I started my electrical apprenticeship.

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Michelle Kelly, EHS Co-Ordinator with Designer Group

My elder brother and younger sister are IT Engineers. I am the one (Civil Engineer) who has chosen the construction industry.

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Nisha Jahangir, Manley Construction Ltd

Having completed my Inter Cert (in the early 80s) I planned doing Engineering, more specifically Civil Engineering. I liked bridges. I even did Physics after school as it wasn’t an option in the all girls’ school I attended.

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Liz Carroll, HR Director, McGrattan & Kenny Ltd

I was very lucky to have an inspirational Physics teacher Mr. Maurice Manning in St. Conleths’ School who took an interest in encouraging me to study STEM subjects.

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Kathy O’Leary, Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) Manager, BAM Ireland

After raising 5 children I returned to college to complete my course in Architectural Technology in Bolton Street.

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Bernadette Farrell, O’Connell Mahon Architects

When I started college in Sligo IT, there were four girls in the entire engineering department. Today that department is actually headed up by a woman.

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Jackie Corcoran, JJ Rhatigan & Company

We need to see a construction industry that is society friendly with work life balance better for all, both men and women, and whatever your background. So welcome diversity with open arms.

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Adrienne Bryan, Human Resources Manager, BAM Contractors Ltd,

From a young age I have always “doodled” houses, slowed down passing building sites & wanted to know how things worked. I knew that I wanted to go into engineering.

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Jillian O’Neill, Teicniuil Priory Consulting Engineering

I’ve always had an interest in buildings and was designing “developments” from a very young age! In school Technical Drawing was my favourite subject and my first step into the industry was in IT Tralee where I studied Construction Studies.

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Suzanne Keane, SK Design/Teicniuil Priory Consulting Engineers Ltd

Growing up I always had an interest in wood work and buildings/construction. I did wood work in school up until Junior Certificate cycle. While doing my Leaving Certificate I thought I wanted to do nursing but was overwhelmed when I realised this was not the career that I wanted.

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Aoife Gormally, Site Foreman, John Sisk & Son (Holdings) Ltd

There’s no denying that Construction is a male-dominated industry however I believe that the few women that are involved in the industry make a real difference.

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Sonya Stuart, Human Resources Manager, Siac Construction Ltd

Shortly after arriving to New Zealand a massive earthquake took place and I worked for over 6 years repairing homes damaged by the earthquake sequence.

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Aoife Murphy, Senior Engineer, David Kelly Partnership Chartered Engineers

Apprenticeship are an under used method of training and development in Ireland.

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Laoise Maher, Project Management, KSN

We are designed to be jugglers, out of the box and quick thinkers and problem solvers. These are invaluable additions to any project.

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Daniela Creedon, Creedon Construction Ltd

My name is Pauline Yeo, and I am a Quantity Surveyor who has been working in the industry for over 25 years. My first job was with a local council in the UK, working on the seafront as part of the management team.

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Pauline Yeo, Quantity Surveyor, L&M Keating

I’ve worked for the company for the past four years. Prior to this I worked for more than 20 years in the manufacturing and service sectors. I can honestly say, while I have loved all of my previous roles.

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Kerry Power, Human Resources Manager, Suir Engineering Ltd

It’s not always the employer that needs convincing. We have much to do to persuade women that they are genuinely welcome on site.

Jen Kelly, Industrial Abseiler / Founder of Women in Trades Network Ireland (WITNI)

Often you hear that men are persuasive whereas women are pushy or men are smooth, but women are showing off; we get that kind of information all the time and it is up to us to stop it.

Louise Phelan, Vice-President PayPal

I would like to see an increase in female participation within the construction industry. I think having more women involved in this sector will help change the industry for the better. Women make great leaders, and we are all equal in this business

Tara Flynn, Chairperson, CIF Galway Branch / Director Paul Flynn Construction

We need more women participating in construction and those who are already involved we need to see them progressing into more senior roles within the industry. We want to get the message out there that the construction industry is not just for men.

Jean Winters, Director, Industrial Relations, CIF

Hailing from a family background in construction, I was always adamant to pursue a career within the fast pace market of commercial construction…

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Sinead Hodgins, Health & Safety Advisor with Flynn Management and Contractors

One of my very first jobs after leaving secondary school was in a geology lab as a lab technician. It was my job to test soil, water and rock prior to building works being constructed. Little did I know then that I would end up in a career in the construction industry all these years later.

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Richelle, Account Manager, Hilti

Time and time again it has been proven that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams, significantly. The days of gender specific roles are long gone! The construction sector is dynamic, thriving and fun. If you are looking for a robust and exciting career path, construction is the industry to be in.

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Janine, Talent Acquisition, Hilti

After graduating from Commerce and Italian in University College of Cork in 2015 if you had told me then that I would be working in the construction industry I wouldn’t have believed whoever was telling me. But that is exactly where the barrier of perception needs to be broken and that’s exactly when I happily am now.

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Fiona, Digital Marketing Specialis, Hilti

I studied Science in college but when I went to work with my Mam (Project Manager) on a building site the summer I finished, I quickly realised construction was the industry for me.

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Cora Sutton-Smith, Cronin & Sutton Consulting

I was extremely lucky in my school days to have had very strong, influential mentors around me who noticed a talent in me for Design and Problem Solving.

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Kim Jordan, Design Manager, Crown Roofing & Cladding Ltd

Continued Personal Development (CPD) is a necessity and helpful in career progression. Lifelong learning plays a key part in technology jobs and the ever-evolving workplace.

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Darina Porter, Construction Economist (Senior Cost Manager), Linesight Dublin

We need to work more closely with the education system to ensure that female students know that they are welcome in our industry and that they can build fantastic and fulfilling careers here.

Dominic Doheny, President, CIF

Construction is one of the universal languages of global commerce and if you’re trained in Ireland, you are likely to be able to secure work around the world. The CIF’s #BuildingEquality Campaign will challenge the misconception that construction only provides careers for men.

Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF

I come from a farming background where, boys and girls are encouraged to undertake any job or task that may arise, there was never a “that’s a boys job” attitude. I knew that I wanted a career that involved lots of interaction with people and one would allow me to be out and about as much as possible.

Aoife Gilheany H&S Manager at SONICA

I joined the family construction business after graduating from college having worked for a few years working in other industries.

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Emma O’ Gorman Wall, Chief Operations Officer/Director, Crown Roofing & Cladding Ltd

My introduction to the industry was through an admin role for a company who supplied and installed products to the construction industry. I was intrigued by the people, the challenges, and the variability of the projects we supplied to.

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Leanne McLoughlin, Health and Safety Operations Manager, BAM Contractors Ireland

As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved engineering, figuring things out, making things – helped along by Lego no doubt!

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Mary-Catherine Greene, Program Manager, Glenveagh Properties

As part of the #BuildingEquality Campaign, Nancy Sweeney, BCAR Manager, Glenveagh Properties, shares her story as a woman in construction.

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Nancy Sweeney, BCAR Manager, Glenveagh Properties

My journey working in HR began when I completed a BSc in Human Resource Management in DIT Angier Street (now part of TU Dublin). I start working with Mercury in 2007 as a HR Generalist.

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Joanne Cluxton, Group HR Manager with Mercury

As part of the #BuildingEquality Campaign, Fiona Cormican, New Busines Director at Clúid Housing, shares her story.

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Fiona Cormican, New Business Director, Clúid Housing

Video Stories

#BuildingEquality on International Women's Day 2019

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#BuildingEquality on International Women's Day 2018

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#BuildingEquality on September 21st 2018 in Eaton HQ, Dublin

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#BuildingEquality with the younger generation featuring Carole Smillie

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Sharing her story - Lisa Roche

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Sharing her story - Joanne Bradley

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Sharing her story - Larissa Tardelli

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Sharing her story - Louise Martin

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Sharing her story - Sara Phillips

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The CIF’s #LottieTour

As part of the #BuildingEquality campaign, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) joined forces with #LottieDolls in 2018 to challenge traditional perceptions of the industry as being ‘just for the boys’ and encourage more girls to consider construction.  In the run up to International Women’s Day on March 8th and throughout 2018, a number of CIF member companies featured in Lottie’s #LottieTour as she visited some of Ireland’s greatest construction projects.

About Us

The Construction Industry Federation established the Building Equality Working Group in late 2017.
This ad hoc working group’s key priority is to promote equality of opportunity in the industry and to position construction as a viable and attractive career option for all groups from an early age.

According to the CSO Labour Force Survey for Quarter 1 2018, of the 137,300 persons currently employed in the Irish construction industry just 8,200 (6%) are women. And yet, the Construction Industry requires over 112,000 additional workers to deliver on the population’s housing needs, the economy’s infrastructure and specialist buildings underpinning FDI.

As an industry leader, the CIF is committed to dispelling the perceptions that our industry is male-orientated and does not present the same opportunities to all, and addressing barriers where they exist.

The #BuildingEquality campaign seeks to change ingrained perceptions of the construction industry and promote equality of opportunity for all.

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