The construction industry is on its way to breaking down barriers and empowering women in the field, and it is only getting better as their contributions in the field are recognised more and more.
The construction industry has long been dominated by men, but in recent years, there has been a remarkable shift towards breaking down barriers and empowering women in this field. As the world recognises the value of diversity and inclusivity, it becomes evident that women have a crucial role to play in construction. It is important to encourage women to pursue careers in construction, despite the challenges they face, to see the potential, remarkable contributions they could bring to the table.
Unlocking the Potential
“Hopefully within the next sort of five years, we will see a ratio of more women doing a trade” – Natalie Brolly, Women in Non-Traditional Trades Mentor, Apprenticeship Support Australia
Historically, women faced obstacles entering construction, discouraged by stereotypes in this male-dominated field. Yet, as times change, there’s growing recognition of women’s untapped potential. Encouraging and empowering them unlocks a vast pool of talent, creativity, and problem-solving skills, benefiting the industry and society. With increased female participation, construction gains diverse perspectives, efficient practices, and improved workplace culture.
“I think that success for women in the construction industry is that when they turn up for day one, that there’s equality; that there are female toilets on site, that they’re not treated any differently to their co-workers.” – Sara Cutting, Head Teacher, Educational Pathways Program
While progress is being made, it’s essential to acknowledge that women still encounter challenges within the construction sector. One of the primary obstacles is the stereotype that physical strength is a prerequisite for success in construction-related jobs. However, technology and mechanisation have significantly reduced the importance of sheer physical power in many construction roles. What truly matters are skills, knowledge, and a willingness to learn and adapt.
Moreover, gender bias and discrimination can create a hostile work environment for women in construction. Companies must implement policies promoting diversity and inclusivity for equal opportunities. By fostering a supportive and respectful workplace, the construction industry can attract and retain talented women, enabling them to thrive in their chosen careers.
Promoting Role Models and Mentorship
“It just shows that what success looks like is a great support network for these girls. To be able to help them into these roles and support them” – Michael Brolly, Industry Training Hubs
One effective way to empower women in construction is by providing them with strong female role models and mentorship opportunities. When women see others who have succeeded in the industry, it becomes easier for them to envision their own path to success. Mentorship program that connect aspiring female professionals with experienced women in construction can provide guidance, support, and encouragement, helping to build their confidence and capabilities.
Moreover, educational institutions and construction companies must actively promote construction-related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program to young girls. By starting early, we can challenge stereotypes and encourage girls to consider careers in construction. Engaging girls in hands-on activities and showcasing successful women in construction can broaden their horizons and instil the belief that they can excel in any field they choose.
Empowering women in construction is not solely about achieving gender balance; it’s about unleashing the immense potential of diverse perspectives, skills, and ideas. By dismantling barriers and fostering inclusivity, the construction industry can usher in a new era of innovation and progress. Overcoming challenges and cultivating supportive environments for women in construction will not only lead to their individual success but will also benefit the industry and society as a whole. As we persist in promoting role models and mentorship, and challenging stereotypes, we take another step toward building a more equitable and flourishing construction industry for all. Let us embrace the power of diversity and strive for a future where women stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men in shaping the cities and infrastructure of tomorrow.
This blog is based on the Third panel discussion from the Construction Industry Careers Festival Presented by Industry Training Hubs and Stronger Than My Excuses. In this discussion, a group of experts provided their perspectives on the theme of “Women in Construction. A Career Choice” Watch the full panel discussion here!