Renovating lives w/ Chante Blackwood
“The lack of gender diversity in the construction business is startling. By some estimates, it is said 99 per cent of workers on building sites are men.” – The Gaurdian
Chante Blackwood is the owner of Chantier Construction Services #ChantefromChantier. Chante has over seven years of experience within the construction and engineering industry. She is a young professional with a passion for construction, possessing a Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering and currently pursuing a Project Management Professional Certification (PMP).
What industry are you a part of, and would you say it is women inclusive?
As mentioned before, I am a part of the construction/engineering industry, which is a male-dominated field, so it is definitely not women inclusive.
What inspired you to start your business?
I realised that I have a talent that is driven by my passion for construction. This led me to do a collaboration with a friend on a project which, at the time, got a lot of positive feedback. The inspiration really came from the positive feedback I had received.
What action, if any, is needed to level the playing field in your industry?
I believe the action needed would be to create equal opportunities for women to create diversity and get rid of the stereotypes and prejudice within the industry.
“Women are the real architects of society.” – Cher.
How do you #BreaktheBias?
I #BreaktheBias by working hard and creating a true representation of what it is like to have a woman within the field.
How can one show support for women?
By creating opportunities and giving women a fair chance within the industry. I also believe that there need to be more women role models that will encourage other women to enter the field.
How can we help forge a gender-equal world?
Ensuring equitable representation is key for all industries. This means having a balance in roles and opportunities for both genders. Seeing women being celebrated as the first “this in her field” needs to become a thing of the past in this century.
What are some gender biases – both conscious and unconscious – that you would say are engrained in Jamaican society & culture?
There are a number of gender biases that are entrenched in our culture as Jamaicans—most surrounding the care of children and family. Men are viewed as providers and women as caregivers. This often extends to workplaces as well. Women are expected to do the preparations for meetings or take minutes despite their equals being present and able-bodied as well.
What’s your advice to any woman interested in tapping into your industry?
My advice to women who are interested in engineering or construction is to not be afraid to put your foot out there, make yourself marketable and show your capabilities. It’s hard always having to prove yourself, but when you’re very confident, you grab attention without trying too hard. Respect, too, goes a far way.
How easy would you say is it to break into this industry as a woman?
It is certainly not easy to break into the construction industry as a woman. You have to work 10x harder to prove that you’re able to be on the same level as a man who is underperforming. But it will become easier once you take the initiative and do lots of research, as knowledge takes you a far way.
To find out more about Chantier Construction Services, follow them on Instagram @chantierconstruction.