She has made it her mission to change the historically conservative, traditional and male-dominated construction industry. She chooses to believe that everything is possible and has, in just one year, created an established building platform – a platform that drives change and works as a voice for the under-represented groups in the construction industry.
Sandra Mobaraki runs the digital construction platform Byggsandra (Swedish for ConstructionSandra). From there she works to make the construction industry accessible to everyone. She uses her voice to challenge the industry and change its view of it. To make everyone’s voices heard and to attract more women into the industry.
– If we are going to build a Sweden for everyone, we need broad representation and that is not in the construction industry today. With more perspectives, for instance from women and young people, we gain a greater understanding of the challenges that exists in the society and how the consequences of decisions can affect the individual. For example, if we had more young people in the industry, we could have highlighted the consequences at an early stage of the amortization requirements and how this excludes an entire generation. But also, other groups of weaker financial position in the society, Sandra explains.
Stuck out in the business
In the construction industry Sandra herself ended up by chance. She was 19 years old and looking for a summer job at a local hardware store. When she accepted the job, the idea was to stay for one summer only. Sandra stayed for six years. She did everything from selling, to running projects and eventually working as a service manager. Sandra noticed early on that she stood out in the industry, partly for being woman, but also for being young and with parents from another country.
– By being a minority, I gained a greater understanding of the challenges that exists in the industry. In the end, I was tired of meeting the prejudices and hearing that I didn’t look like someone who works in construction. I decided to stop complaining and do something about it. If I didn’t fit into the image that others had of the industry, then I had to create a platform that changed that image instead. I also realized that the outdated view made it harder for many women to see themselves in the industry. That’s why, among other things, I want to inspire more women to apply to the construction sector.
Raises and debates
Through the Instagram account Byggsandra and the hashtag #byggbranschenskvinnor (Swedish for Women of the construction industry), she highlights women. She shows and debates on various projects, issues and challenges that the industry is facing. It’s a platform where one can turn to for tips and advice, but also inspiration that gives a view unlike the traditional one.
– It is one of our most important industries and it’s so cool. Because of the view saying that the industry is traditional and conservative, there are many people missing out on it. I want to show off a whole new image, the one that inspires.
Women in the construction industry inspire
In May this year Byggsandra organized the network meeting, Byggbranschens kvinnor (Women of the construction industry), for the first time. It’s a network that aims to empower women in the industry, but also to attract more. At the meetings, mingle is interspersed with live interviews and inspiration where the participants get to talk about their experiences and knowledge.
– There is so much competence in this network! I want to help create a community among the women of the construction industry and that they can, in the long term, inspire more people to make a career within it.
Byggsandra’s work is also conducted in dialogue with the business community and municipalities to influence companies and organizations to work inclusive and welcoming.
– There is research showing that equal companies are more profitable and healthier. Therefore, we must ensure that companies and organizations are included, so that everyone is comfortable and want to stay in their workplace. A work that must be done in several stages and where Byggsandra is the first step.
Young housing policy makes young people’s voices heard
Since the start of Byggsandra, she has seen the need of having a group of young people that the industry can cope with. From that, an idea was born, which aims to carry the voices of young people. She is now one out of two initiators behind the Young Housing Policy Steering Group. Together with Alexandra Sandberg at Carrus Network, she works to make young people’s voices heard as well. The future is theirs – what do they want from society?
Today Young Housing Policy is a steering group of six people. Together, they should make it easier to make decisions that favor young people and at the same time make it easier to include them in discussions and issues. Collaborations with student unions will be created and actors such as construction companies and real estate companies will be welcomed for dialogue.
– To me, the fact that there’s no better time than now to create change is a driving force. Therefore, I am the voice of those women in the construction industry who does not have the courage to step forward. For the young people who want to influence the matter but cannot, along with the craftsman who faces prejudice and the Swedish people who are not so familiar with the industry. We are going to build a Sweden for everyone, Sandra concludes.
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