‘As a woman, I get funny looks on construction sites’

Emma Carhart is a trainee quantity surveyor at specialist Wirral glazing firm, RED Systems and has spoken of what International Women’s Day means to her. Tony McDonough reports

Emma Carhart
Emma Carhart, a trainee quantity surveyor at RED Systems


Trainee quantity surveyor Emma Carhart feels its essential that International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women whose careers “don’t fit into the stereotypical norm”.

Emma is a trainee quantity surveyor at specialist Wirral glazing firm, RED Systems. She is currently studying a for a degree, fully funded by the firm, at Liverpool John Moores University.

Construction is often seen as one of the last bastions of male domination. And while you will still see more men than women if you do walk past a site, the picture is changing rapidly with firms across Merseyside committed to diversifying their workforce.

“To me International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of don’t fit into the  stereotypical norm,” said Emma. “It is a day that reminds me to feel great about being a woman.

I am very mindful of the struggles women face in the construction industry.

“I have experienced funny looks on site or even out an out shock that a young women is there, doing her stuff in a hard hat. I totally embrace this by taking pride in the fact that I am able to be on site and have a key purpose to fulfil my role as a QS.

“If you are a young woman considering a career in construction and anybody questions you on why you want to choose such a ‘male dominated industry’, do it regardless, chances are if it feels right for you it almost definitely will be.”

Since starting her training at RED Systems two years ago, Emma says her confidence has grown “immeasurably”. She added: “I really feel that the construction industry it has 100% shaped me into a much stronger woman than I thought I was.

“I have known I wanted to become  a quantity surveyor since I was about 14. I went to an all-girls school and we had a careers day where we had to guess the occupation of women as they described it to us.

“One woman had a very interesting job but no one could guess what it was, she turned out to be a quantity surveyor. She was so inspirational and I knew that was the path I wanted to take.

“I come from family of pretty inspirational women but have to say that as a little girl I always loved everything about Marilyn Monroe. Even though she is often viewed as the original Hollywood starlet, she was not content with allowing leading men to hog the limelight.

“Often, in the construction industry men definitely try and own the spotlight but Marilyn’s influence on me has given me the attitude to make it happen for me  and turn this spotlight away from the men in this industry.”


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