Rejzl Awit Breaks the Bias Against Women in Male-Dominated Fields

Rejzl Awit Breaks the Bias Against Women in Male-Dominated Fields

Rejzl Awit gets candid about thriving in the construction industry through her dynamics with an almost all-male team.

Rejzl Awit is a woman who wears many hats—sometimes literally, a hard hat.

This Mass Communication graduate and lawyer spends her days on sites as the Chief Operating Officer of ZLREJ Trading and Construction Corporation. On top of all that, she is also the Managing Director of Apex PR & Events, and is the co-founder of local fave hangout Bicester Café.

Thriving in an industry often dominated by men, Rejzl leads the charge by fostering meaningful mentoring relationships with her co-workers and encouraging team spirit.

Rejzl opens up to about the dynamics of blurring the gender lines in her field. How has your experience been like as a woman working in the construction field?

REJZL: Admittedly, not a lot of women are present in the construction industry or construction business. I personally run our construction firm which is our family’s business. I do the financials, I do the HR work—I basically oversee everything and I also oversee how the project runs.

So with overseeing how the project runs, most of our engineers are actually male but I’m happy and blessed that I’m working with men who are open in the sense that they are very welcoming to the idea that women are leading in their field.

With my fellow contractors, not a lot of women are doing construction but it’s also a good thing that nowadays more and more women are becoming more active. Since you are the leader of a male-dominated company, how’s that been like?

REJZL: So right after I finished law school and took the bar, I immediately joined our construction business. We have engineers who are way older than me, with longer experiences than me, so at first, it was very intimidating. I had to adjust as to how I could deal with them considering that they are employees but at the same time they are older than me. It was quite a challenge but thankfully they’re very respectful and at the same time very mentoring.

Instead of treating them like employees, I also treated them like my mentors. I’ve been learning so many things from them, most especially because in the field of construction which is very very foreign to me but I’m getting the hang of it because of them.

I’m also very thankful that my dad is all for women’s empowerment so he raised me to become a leader, he raised me to become a very strong woman and someone who’s ready to take on whatever challenge. What are the top three things that you’ve learned leading your construction company?

REJZL: Number one is to always listen to what your teammates are thinking or would want to say. We are so used to being in a setting wherein the one on top would lead and be the ones to dictate everything. But in our case, I would always try to listen to what everyone thinks before I make a decision because at the end of the day I want my decision to be beneficial not just for me but for everyone on the team. 

Second is always ask those people who know more than you so again. Being in the construction industry is really something very foreign to me—I was a Mass Communications student in college, then I took up law. Whenever there are things I do not know of, I would always ask our engineers because I believe they know more than I do. 

Third is to not to be intimidated by men. As I mentioned earlier the construction industry is very dominated by men, but as to how you run the construction firm or as to how you perform as a contractor, you should not be hindered by your gender. You should always continue to succeed despite being in a very male-dominated field. What message of encouragement can you give to women who are like you?

REJZL: Do not let your gender hinder you from succeeding. If there are things you want to achieve, just continue to pursue them and do not allow your gender from stopping you from doing that.