Leeds Pride Building Equality

Building Equality – an alliance of construction companies working to build LGBT+ inclusion including Built Environment Networking, has completed their second annual march at Leeds Pride. More than 200 people from across the construction and property industry – double the number of people from the previous year – joined the parade to celebrate diversity, advocate workplace inclusion and challenge industry stereotypes to a crowd of around 55,000 spectators lining the route.

The entry was supported by seventeen organisations representing a broad cross section of the construction and property sectors. A pre-event was hosted in the morning at Womble Bond Dickinson office and then marchers joined the parade accompanied by a rainbow-coloured JCB digger, which was one of the highlights of Leeds Pride 2019.

Building Equality comprises LGBT+ employees and allies from across the construction and property industry, all of whom are passionate about working together and harnessing their collective power to drive LGBT+ inclusion. It is a strong example of how leading organisations are uniting and collaborating to tackle industry-wide challenges and bring about real change.

Building Equality’s entrance to Leeds Pride marks another significant step in a rapidly growing movement to advocate LGBT+ inclusion across the industry. Building Equality recently celebrated its fifth successful year marching at London Pride and the Leeds entry stands alongside recent debuts in Newcastle last year, and in Manchester two years ago.

Several organisations are supporting Building Equality for the first time and are beginning to establish their own LGBT+ networks. Over the coming months, those with established networks will support these initiatives to further grow and strengthen advocacy. Building Equality will organise further events in Leeds over the coming year. To get involved or for further information, please contact liliana.leirosanchez@arup.com.

Luke Ives, Bid Proposal Manager, Civic Engineers, said: “We have few LGBT+, BAME or female role models in the construction industry, and even fewer at board level. But this is changing, and we are beginning to see real focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in order to attract and retain the diverse skills and experiences we need in our industry. Through Building Equality we are seeing LGBT+ champions, at all levels, across construction, which is a positive step for the industry by providing real-life visibility and reflection, for others to aspire to.”

Sarah Wales, Construction and Engineering Solicitor at Womble Bond Dickinson, commented: “It was a delight hosting a pre-pride celebration event in our Leeds office alongside BE to drive LGBTQ+ inclusion in the construction industry. By embracing LGBTQ+ employees, businesses are seen as great places to work which will help to attract diverse talent in the construction sector more specifically. Education is key to help the culture of any work place as individuals are likely to accept something once they understand it.”

Curtis Fox, Trainee Solicitor at Womble Bond Dickinson added: “At WBD, we promote an open and inclusive culture where people are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. It was great to be able to share this with everyone involved in BE as well as the wider LGBTQ+ community in Leeds”.


Building Equality members are: AECOM, Amey, Arcadis, Arup, Atkins, Balfour Beatty, BAM, Bechtel, Built Environment Networking, BuroHappold Engineering, CIAT, CIOB, Civic Engineers, Constructing Rainbows, Construction Excellence North East, Costain, Cundall, Curtins, DLA, Fusion JV, Gardiner & Theobald, Homes England, ICE, ISG, Jacobs, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Leeds City Council, University of Leeds, Lendlease, Loop, Mace, Mott Macdonald, Multiplex, Ramboll, RICS, Seddon, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, Taylor Wimpey, Trimble, Turner & Townsend, Volkerwessels, Willmott Dixon, Willmott Dixon Interiors, Wood Plc, Womble Bond Dickinson, WSP, WYG and Yorkshire Water.