Building homes and smashing stereotypes is all in a day’s work for Maria Antwan.
When Maria Antwan was on the hunt for a career change, she thought construction would be an ideal in-between gig. Three years later, she’s running her own building and project management company, NWD Design & Build. And when she isn’t busy overseeing the construction of new homes and shop fit-outs, Maria is also a role model and ambassador for other women in construction. “I wanted to be a part of the change that’s happening and inspire more women to work in construction,” she says.
In Australia, building and construction is the second largest industry, employing more than one million people. But women make up just 11% of the construction industry and 1% of the building trades workforce. “I think a lot of women don’t see construction as a career option because society still considers it as ‘dirty’ and ‘unsafe’ with a boys’ club culture,” says Maria.
Thankfully, there are mentoring programs and associations opening the door to women who want to start a career in building and construction.
In Maria’s first year in the industry, she worked closely with a female mentor from global firm Laing O’Rourke. She also began building her professional network by joining organisations such as Master Builders Australia and The National Association of Women in Construction.
Maria says social media is a great tool for connecting with people in the industry. “We live in an age where everything is accessible online,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from people.”
This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Engineering 2019.
Author: Gemma Conroy
Gemma is a freelance journalist with a passion for making science accessible to everyone. Gemma has a degree in biology from Macquarie University and loves sharing amazing discoveries with the world.