Build­ing ca­reer de­spite slights

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - By CAITLIN TILLER

BROOK­FIELD Mul­ti­plex’s Sharon War­bur­ton says hav­ing a fe­male boss is on her bucket list.

The Strat­egy and Fi­nance ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor spoke about her ex­pe­ri­ences in fi­nance, min­ing and con­struc­tion at a Women in Build­ing and Con­struc­tion (WiNBaC) func­tion at the Dux­ton Ho­tel ear­lier this month.

Trigg res­i­dent Ms War­bur­ton re­called times when clients had asked why a woman was present and said ‘Why do we need to lis­ten to a woman?’

“Dur­ing in­ter­views, I was of­ten asked about my dad and what he could bring to the com­pany and I was once asked if I had a rep­utable man to bring to events be­cause the clients would pre­fer to talk to a man,” Ms War­bur­ton said.

“It in­stilled my hard work ethic but women do not have to work harder to be part of the team.”

Ms War­bur­ton said a lack of self-be­lief and mind games were her big­gest chal­lenges work­ing in male-dom­i­nated in­dus­tries.

“In 2007, I did not go to one women’s net­work­ing event, about di­ver­sity, gen­der equal­ity and don’t even get me started on the gen­der pay gap,” she said.

“My ideal sit­u­a­tion is where gen­der di­ver­sity doesn’t need to be un­der the spot light as we have women and men work­ing along­side each other in most parts of male­dom­i­nated busi­nesses.”

Af­ter her ca­reer took her to Canada, Eng­land, Pa­pua New Guinea and Bel­gium, Ms War­bur­ton said who you knew was more im­por­tant in WA than in any other place she had worked.

Now part of the team be­hind con­struc­tion of Perth Sta­dium, Ms War­bur­ton said con­struc­tion was no longer the “blokey” en­vi­ron­ment it used to be.

“I’ve had some won­der­ful men as men­tors and with­out sup­port, it is a tough en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

“We all have to work to rid un­con­scious bias, which means telling col­leagues if they’re be­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

“Women need to take the lead to say what they’re worth.”

Ms War­bur­ton is a di­rec­tor at Fortes­cue Met­als Group, on the board of Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion and founder of the blog Steel Heels.

Sharon War­bur­ton has wit­nessed great changes in gen­der re­sponses in in­dus­try.

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