It’s A Woman’s World Now: First Women Awards Nominees Named


It’s a man’s world no more; these days more and more women are entering into professions deemed to be all male territory. In fact, they’re not only starting work in engineering, construction and manufacturing, these women are excelling in their chosen fields.

The First Women Awards were created to highlight the achievements of these groundbreaking women, awarding them for jobs well done. The shortlist for the 2013 ceremony was recently released and the winners will be announced on the 12th of June 2013.

The First Women Awards

The Awards were founded by Real Business and the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) in 2005 and serves to recognize female trailblazers in:

  • Finance
  • Media
  • Public service
  • Science & Technology
  • Business services
  • Retail & Consumer
  • Engineering & Manufacturing
  • The Built Environment

The winners will be announced on the 12th of June during a black tie function at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London.

The Shortlist

COINS, the category sponsor for the “Built Environment” Award has announced the finalists for 2013. Bev James, Marketing Director for COINS, told Specification Online that; “There were some fantastic nominations in our category this year, which made the shortlisting process a difficult one.  We were very pleased with both the number and quality of applications and would like to thank all those who entered for taking the time to nominate.”

Pat Duggan, Regional Director, Balfour Beatty

According to Real Business, Pat is the first women to be appointed to the position of construction and design manager at Balfour Beatty. She is also the first female construction director to be responsible for £600m of activity.

Barbara Jones, Director, Straw Works

Barbara Jones has a number of ‘firsts’ under her belt; she established the first lime, clay and straw courses at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, developed the first load-bearing straw houses in Europe and designed the first straw-bale council houses in Britain.  She also happens to be a founder member of the UK’s first women’s builders co-operative.

Gill Riley, Managing Director, GGR Group

Riley is credited with transforming a smallish, family-run plant hire business into a global business with a turnover of £14 million. No stranger to ladies work wear, Real Business also reports that, whilst working on London’s Shard project, she personally directed the plan to get mini-crane to a record breaking height.

Sue Roaf, Professor of Architectural Engineering, Heriot-Watt University

Sue has done much to direct architecture to a more performance-based ethos. She’s also pioneered “academic studies into natural air-conditioning systems in desert regions of Iran”.

Jane Wernick, Director, Jane Wernick Associates

Jane Wernick is a well known, international lecturer and the mastermind behind the Millennium Wheel. She’s also the first structural engineer to be made an associate at Arup.

Julie White, Managing Director, D-Drill Master Drillers

 Last but not least is Julie White; the first, and currently still the only, woman to sit on the UK Drilling and Sawing Association. She’s also recognized as a champion of women in her industry.

All of these women clearly are winners in their own right and ceremonies, like the First Women Awards, can only inspire more women to join them in traditionally male dominated industries.


London-based blogger, Pippa Green, covers news and events in the construction industry and recently wrote about Dickies – the online supplier of work wear.

One comment

  1. Great post, thank you. Working at Heriot-Watt University, I’m obviously biased towards Sue Roaf, but good luck to all the finalists!

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