By Benjamin Brits
Fourways Group and Samsung hosted a celebration as a planned first-of-many in support of women in the built sectors which have historically always been male dominated.
Taking place at the Design Quarter in Johannesburg at the end of March, the idea behind this concept was to bring various women from the built industry together so that a platform can be created to speak about the various challenges that women may face. The air conditioning sector particularly has been male dominated for many years, and women in the sector are regularly faced with how they can deal with the ‘status quo’.
Today’s environment is seeing many women entering roles in built sectors – both locally and across the African continent – from air conditioning to the commercial sector, building, architecture, design and engineering.
As the first small event, the hope is that the platform will grow by a few women at each occasion that can continually assess and address conditions, and share advice from their experiences in these industries, and therefore generate a wide support structure. Also, this platform intends to celebrate every example of good work done by women in these sectors as gender proportions even-up over time. The more women representation that is highlighted, the more interest and attraction to these sectors is expected to follow too.
This event was attended by around 25 members of staff and female guests who were addressed by guest speakers. These ladies shared their roles and experiences, highlighting some of the challenges for them individually, but far more emphasis was given to the positive attributes women bring to the work environment.
The guest speakers included:
- Charmaine Pieters, acting head of air conditioning, Samsung
- Anelisa Ndzandzeka, team lead internal engineering, Fourways Group
- Tatum Russo, professional architect, Gottsmann Architects
- Dudu Mokholo, chief marketing officer, Samsung
Through the guest speakers, some of the Samsung air conditioning products were highlighted – one being the excellent growth of the ‘WindFree™’ technology, the engagement of other professionals and engineers from the engineering and design side, how balance plays a key role for not only architecture but for women navigating all sectors of industry in general, and then some of the other innovative technology on offer from Samsung was presented too that embraces a new age of togetherness through customizable experiences for ever-changing lifestyles.
A common thread of the discussions was the importance of passion for what one does and also the critical need for women to gain the deserved recognition as professionals in these fields, having gone through the same study and practical experiences that their male counterparts do. Another particular highlight was the growing acknowledgment of the abilities that women possess to multitask and perform roles as capably as men across the employment spectrum – from administration to engineering – with their keen insights on problem solving.
The guest speakers further gave some insights about their reasons for getting into in their particular areas of expertise within the built environment, and also offered some words about what drives them personally to grow and achieve their individual and unique goals.
In attendance at the event were Michael van Lier, consumer electronics director at Samsung and Richard Perry, chief executive officer of Fourways Group who both offered exceptional support and thanks for the women within their environments. They individually shared sentiments of pride in the achievements of the women they work with. Furthermore, the importance around supporting women in these sectors was brought to the fore in order to inspire and provide critical role models to the young women coming through their schooling and university that want to enter these sectors.
During the event, two lucky draws also took place where the winners each received a Samsung Smart monitor. The official proceedings were then concluded with thanks and well wishes. Guests were invited to share in some eats and refreshments while also being offered a walkthrough of the centre and all the different technologies and designs being showcased and a networking opportunity.
Information around other planned events celebrating women in the built environment will be made available in future.