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Investing in Women at Switched On Group - International Women’s Day

7 March 2024

At Switched On Group, we’re on a journey to understand inequities and challenges faced by our diverse kaimahi and what we can do to combat them. This starts with listening to our people, understanding their experiences and how we can better support them.

This International Women’s Day, we reached out to wāhine throughout our business to understand what matters most to them as women working in construction and how we and the construction industry can better invest in wāhine.

Here’s what they had to say.


Hine Ratapu
Quality and Trade Administrator

How can we invest in women in the construction industry?
By providing a safe space for women to have a voice and to feel validated and heard.

What does that look like to you in your role?
Being acknowledged that the mahi that I contribute is valid and important.

What does that look like to you for Switched On Group as a whole?
Recognising the attributes of a women in the workplace and how femininity is just as valuable and necessary to provide balance and the use of creativity to solve problems.

What are things we are doing well in this area?
We have women in all positions in the company and I think that is admirable and reflects the current culture.

What would you like to see more of?
Appreciation and celebration of our female tradies doing the mahi and how best to support their day-to-day challenges as being a female immersed in a very male dominated work environment.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women's Day to me highlights the appreciation for women that have either impacted me in a positive way or hold significant importance in my life. This will range from friendships that I value to wāhine in my family. It is usually celebrated with a text message or a phone call of appreciation and when I am at work it is nice to discuss our thoughts together amongst other women.

Hine Ratapu with her Hauora matters award
Hine Ratapu (left) with her Hauora matters award during Christmas 2023


Kristal McGill
General Manager Health, Safety and Environment

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
I acknowledge the work that has been done by fierce wāhine toa before me to pave the way to societal changes that remain, in part due to the hard work done before our time.

I am raising a very strong, independent wahine toa - I will continue to encourage her to push for more, and not to accept or take a back seat when she deserves one at the head of the table - I openly share the challenges I face as a woman (in general and at work) so she can learn to navigate with knowledge.  I will advocate for her when she is unable to do that for herself.

I do not personally celebrate International Women’s Day or acknowledge it any differently to any other day.  Outside of the fact my birthday shares the same day and people like to remind me that I am lucky to share the day.

How do you see women being invested in across the construction industry?
In the construction industry there has been a lot of work - we have seen a massive increase in female trades and the acknowledgement of their input into this industry has not gone unrecognised.  There are specific awards and acknowledgement in our industry for woman and associations formed specifically to support woman in construction.

What are we as a business doing well for women?
We support the specific industries and recognition of our woman in construction. We celebrate the successes of our wāhine at work, both professionally and personally. We employ based on skill rather than gender.

Kristal McGill with her Christchurch team
Kristal McGill (middle right) with her Ōtautahi Health & Safety kaimahi during Christmas time


Amanda McCabe
Responsive and Resolutions Manager

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s a great day for highlighting and celebrating women’s achievements, encouraging each other to break through the glass ceiling and recognizing what still needs to be done in accelerating women into executive roles.

How could we invest better in women at Switched On Group?
I would love to hear and see more photos and stories and Women in Construction in our trade newsletters. Sharing their stories of how they started in the business, their journey and where they are headed. Also sharing the challenges that they face with juggling that work life balance with children and other responsibilities.

We could also attend career events for high school students with our women in construction and encourage young females to look into this as a future career.

Amanda McCabe with responsive team
Amanda McCabe (front right) with her Responsive Team 


What IWD means at Switched On Group

We understand that women continue to face inequity across Aotearoa in regards to financial security, access to work, education opportunities, safety and much, much more. Highlighting International Women’s Day highlights that these inequities exist and helps to remind our industry that we still have a long way to go.

This year’s UN International Women’s Day theme is: Invest in women: Accelerate progress. Here are some of the steps we are taking to invest in wāhine:

  • Engaging with our diverse kaimahi to understand how to improve their experience at mahi and improve our people engagement scores. We’ve lifted these by 10% across 2022-2023.
  • Providing working hours and arrangements that work for parents.
  • Two-weeks of special paid leave for all parents who welcome a new whānau member.
  • Supporting participation in leadership development and external awards opportunities.
  • We understand the make-up of our workforce by gender and more – currently 40% of team members identify as women, 46.67% of people leaders, 50% of senior leaders, and 36.36% of executive leaders* as of March 2024.
  • Using market salary data to set pay bands for roles and making annual comparisons to market salary data as part of annual reviews.