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Bellway champions gender equality and diversity to celebrate International Women’s Day

Lyndsey O’Leary

National housebuilder Bellway is celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 [Tuesday 8 March] with a series of events to demonstrate equality, inclusivity and diversity in the construction industry and across society.

From its Newcastle head office, three groups of mixed gender staff members will be tackling the Cycle for Smart Works Challenge 2022, in which teams of five collectively cycle 500 miles in support of Smart Works – the national charity helping women back into work across the country.

Smart Works opened new offices in Newcastle in 2018, as the charity continues to grow from its London base which formed in 2013. The charity has so far helped over 20,000 women into employment from its now eight-strong office locations across the country.

Bellway is also welcoming professional boxer and former England footballer Stacey Copeland on Thursday 10 March via a live webinar to highlight International Women’s Day and what that means to her, as well as discussing key topics around gender equality and diversity in sport and in the workplace.

Heidi Khoshtaghaza, Group HR Director of Bellway, said:

“Bellway is acutely aware of the perceptions of the housebuilding industry as a male-dominated workplace, and the steps we need to take to challenge stereotypes and continue to do all we can to encourage more women to enter the sector.

“To celebrate International Women’s Day in 2022, we wanted not only to champion our exceptional female employees across all our 22 trading divisions and at our Newcastle head offices, but also to highlight the challenges and hurdles overcome by women from other areas of society, to further educate all our staff on the importance of gender equality, inclusivity and diversity.

“We have a proud track record of supporting all our employees at Bellway, and on Thursday 10 March I will be representing the business at the 2022 British Diversity Awards in London as a nominee for the HR Champion of the Year Award, which recognises all the good work we are doing at Bellway as leaders in our sector.

“The money being raised for Smart Works by our teams in Newcastle is brilliant to see, as they are a charitable organisation we’ve been really keen to work with and throw our support behind. We are also really looking forward to welcoming Stacey Copeland to speak with our staff and offer her expert insight into overcoming perceived barriers as a woman in sport, another area of society which is still being challenged to become more equal.”

As a company, Bellway employs 969 female staff members across its full range of job roles and provides equal opportunities for all its staff from on-site construction teams, sales and marketing departments, technical roles and graduate and apprenticeship programme prospects, investing in the future talent of the construction industry, as well as throughout its management structure, totalling 32 per cent of its overall workforce.

Lyndsey O’Leary, Group Risk Director for Bellway, based at the company’s head offices in Woolsington, Newcastle, has been with the company since June 2019.

Lyndsey said:

“Bellway is a very open and inclusive environment to be working in at this time – the company has recognised the previous gender imbalances in the industry and are continuously addressing that.

“The period of change and growth the industry is going through means doors that previously weren’t open now are. It may have historically been male-dominated but there are females rising through the ranks which is great to see.

“The pathway for females will now be there, so I would say young women should look at this as an opportunity for the future.”

For more information on starting a career in the construction industry, or joining Bellway’s growing team, visit