Building Women Up

Construction business owner Colleen Sinclair spends a lot of time building other women up.

She embodies the theme of International Women’s Day on 8 March, which celebrates greater economic inclusion for women and girls. Colleen’s family scaffolding company in Bayswater has a goal of empowering women as industry leaders. Colleen founded Building Connections, a community for small business owners and their families in the building industry, empowering women behind the trade businesses to see themselves as leaders and key contributors.

“Over time, it really started to stand out that it was the ladies behind the tradies that are feeling isolated and underappreciated for the work they do,” Colleen says. “Often, they’re juggling the demands of family and business with many still working in their own career while managing the bookwork for their tradie partners.

“They would say, I’m just the admin person, I just do the payroll, I just do the invoicing. Some of them don’t even see themselves as being in the building industry. Some of them see themselves as less important, and I was the same. I didn’t see myself as contributing to the building industry – I was just doing the bookkeeping, managing the people and invoicing for our business.

“They’re more than just. It’s a word that minimises so much and we’re not going to empower people if they keep using language that’s disempowering.

“I want to support and empower women to be seen as valuable members of the building industry. A lot of tradie businesses would not survive if it wasn’t for the partners behind the scenes keeping it all together.

“I had breast cancer in 2020 and while I was undergoing my surgeries, my daughter Alarna stepped into my role within the business. Then, she’s officially taken over as general manager of the scaffolding business last July. So, she’s another rock star female in the construction industry.”

Council will mark International Women’s Day with a community event to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements towards gender equality. This day also serves as a call to action for further accelerating gender equality.

Council is inviting everyone to a free film screening at the Knox Community Arts Centre on Thursday 7 March from 6.15pm-8.30pm. The film, Equal the Contest, is about a new local women’s footy club in regional Victoria. But it is about more than football – a simple desire to play football becomes a story of inclusion and belonging. The film shows the impact of gender inequality in sport and the barriers that still exist for women and gender diverse people.

There will be lucky door prizes, including the chance to win an AFLW Season Membership of your choice.

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

Tickets are free, however booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

/Public Release. View in full here.