Historically, the construction industry hasn’t exactly been the bastion of female liberation. Twenty-five years ago, a woman entering a construction site was more likely to be wolf-whistled at than to be asked her opinion on a technical matter.

But today, women are beginning to break the concrete ceiling. On Friday night, Victoria’s peak-body for civil construction, Civil Contractors Federation (Victoria), awarded two ‘Women in Civil Excellence Award’s’ to Alyssa Wilder & Siripansa Angsuwittaya for leadership in civil construction.

Alyssa Wilder works as a Project Manager at construction giant BMD. And while BMD is an inclusive organisation committed to diversity, working in a male dominated industry has presented its challenges.

“It’s a male dominated workforce so from time to time you have your decisions second-guessed, but you just take that in your stride,” said Alyssa.

“I did civil engineering through a scholarship and then got a position in the water sector. Sometimes there are expectations and perceptions around women in engineering, they don’t expect you (as a woman) to be a project manager.”

Since graduating from mechanical engineering, Siripansa Angsuwittaya has worked in the oil and gas, water, and waste water sectors and sees her future being in charge of multi-million dollar projects. An eminent Project Engineer currently working at Interflow, Siripansa has been specialising in the water industry for six years. She currently leads the Melbourne Water Maribyrnong Sewer Upgrade project.

CEO of CCF, John Kilgour, suggests that women are very much integral to the future of construction.

‘Any industry that doesn’t open itself up to the skills and talents of half the population is doing itself a massive disservice,’ Mr Kilgour said ‘and as an industry we’re committed to making sure that happens.

‘The Civil Contractors Federation (Vic) is a keen supporter of workplace inclusion of all types, and we’re delighted to be able to hand the Women in Civil Excellence Awards to Alyssa and Siripansa who are outstanding new leaders in the industry and hopefully a portent of what’s to come.’