Welink, Bouygues Construction’s network for women, goes past 500 members
Since its launch in June 2013, Welink, the Bouygues Construction network for women managers, has proved a great success. More than 500 members have already signed up. Welink meets a need for sharing and exchanging. Its objective is to facilitate the integration and development of women, alongside the actions carried out by the Group to encourage gender equality. This network is a first in the construction sector and indicates a desire to promote women's careers in the company.
Run by a board consisting of seventeen women from all Bouygues Construction entities who represent a variety of professions, Welink is an independent network whose primary purpose is to be a forum for sharing, exchanging and solidarity between the of the Group. Questioned on their expectations, some 80% of the 500 members of the network mentioned a need to share information, advice and managerial practices. In a predominantly male environment in which men have no difficulty in finding role models, women managers have to seek out female role models. By raising the profile of women, Welink will enable younger women to better identify the type of career they can build and highlight different ways of succeeding as a woman.
By working for the promotion of gender equality at every level of the hierarchy and operating in a proactive way, Welink also has the ambition of forcing a change in mentalities. The aim is to help women raise their self-confidence and their profile within the Group so that they feel at ease and can express their ambitions more easily.
"The creation of Welink has been a huge satisfaction for us. The keen interest that was immediately aroused shows that the network meets a real need of women to express themselves freely on their experience and the difficulties that they encounter in their daily lives. Women working in the construction industry are passionate about their professions, and we want to show that it is possible to achieve your full potential," comments Fabienne Viala, chair of Welink and CEO of Bouygues Energies & Services FM France.
Among actions planned by the network are talks, themed meetings and working parties, both in Paris and in the provinces, to encourage networking. International Welink networks are currently being set up in Switzerland, the UK and Asia.
The Welink network complements Bouygues Construction's gender equality policy, which takes the form of an ambitious action plan at all levels of the Group. Since 2012, a steering committee has been coordinating actions related to professional equality between men and women. Bouygues Construction encourages the hiring of women in the event of equally qualified candidates for jobs in strongly male-dominated professions and for senior management positions.
A gender equality handbook was published in 2012, and a set of gender equality indicators has been created to monitor the development of women within the Group. The presence of women in senior management posts is monitored separately.
Bouygues Construction also encourages the development of women with high potential. Dedicated training programmes are provided for human resources specialists and modules to raise awareness of gender equality are included in all managerial training programs. The aim is to create a working environment conducive to enabling women to achieve their full potential, both individually and collectively.