Building #BalanceforBetter this International Women’s Day and Beyond

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally every year on March 8th, honouring the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women. The very first IWD event happened over 100 years ago, in 1911, with over a million residents from Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland gathering to celebrate the achievements of women.

Over a century later, millions of people gather today—in person and online—from across the globe, taking part in protests, social media campaigns and workplace events, shining a spotlight on this year’s theme, Balance for Better.

Gender equality is the overarching objective, and the theme Balance for Better aims to draw attention to the importance of moving toward a world where gender balance is expected. As the IWD website puts it, “Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage… Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”

Here at Habitat Hamilton, we understand the importance of building #balanceforbetter. That’s why we work hard to ensure gender balance in the workplace (8:9 female to male ratio), in our boardroom (7:4 female to male ratio) and on our build sites.

One of our most recent initiatives seeks to bring awareness to women in construction.

Led by the Women in Construction Committee, the Hamilton-Halton Construction Association (HHCA) is partnering with Habitat Hamilton to fundraise and build a local home by 2020, in celebration of the association’s centennial.

A non-profit organization, HHCA’s mission is to promote excellence in structures and safety for commercial and industrial enterprises. Beyond this, the HHCA works hard to attract, support and retain women in the skilled trades, bringing greater gender-balance to the industry via its Women in Construction Committee. Since 2013, the committee has provided a forum for women to network, exchange best practices and make a difference.

Catharine Street, Hamilton | Location of the Legacy Build

Now in their second year of fundraising, the Women in Construction Committee has secured more than $100,000 in monetary, pro-bono and gift-in-kind pledges and donations. Much of the committee’s success can be attributed to their dedication to collective action and shared responsibility; something the organizers of IWD strongly encourage. Collecting support from HHCA’s membership, the Women in Construction Committee has secured significant pledges and donations ($5,000+) from member companies including Lancaster Group, Historia Building Restoration, RMG Consulting, Hanson Ready Mix, LJ Barton Mechanical and Gen-Pro.

This is great cause for celebration. And that’s why this International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to reflect on our collective accomplishments, while simultaneously, creating a call to action to accelerate our impact on affordable housing and gender-balance.

If you’d like to help support the Legacy Build, and all that it exemplifies, please consider donating today and selecting Hamilton Halton Construction Association Build when asked where you would like your gift allocated.

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