women in construction

Whenever we go past a construction site, we mainly see a group of men working. We don’t see many women wearing hi-vis jackets and hard hats.

As you may already know, the construction industry is a male-dominated industry. And according to Construction News, only 12.8% of the workforce in the UK construction industry, which includes roles at board level and working on-site, is made up by women.

This is low. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

We can’t hide from the fact that there is a lot of stigmatism around women in construction.  And the women who do work in the sector have expressed their frustration about the number of issues they face on a daily basis. Whether that may be sexism or struggling to be taken seriously, these things should not be happening in the 21st century. Regardless of sector.

It is quite sad for me to actually write that last paragraph. Women who choose to work in this sector do so because they enjoy it. And they’re passionate about building and construction.

A career in the construction industry is very hands on. And to some people, regardless of gender, they would rather be in a career that is very practical than be stuck in an office all day.

Why We Need More Women In Construction?

There’s only an average of around 11% of women working in construction. But having more women in construction would actually lead to reducing the amount of stigmatism in the sector. It will help the industry take a positive step towards being a gender neutral industry. This means, people will socially accept women working in the construction industry.

And another reason why we need more women to work in the construction industry is because there is a demand for construction workers. And with half of the UK population female, then there should be an initiative to encourage more females to work in the sector. It would definitely ease the pressure.

This was definite noted by Jane Nelson from North London, who won a lifetime achievement award in the National Women in Construction Awards:

“There is a skills shortage in the construction sector, yet just one or two per cent of building trade operatives are female. The industry has tolerated this inequality for too long. Together, we can do something about that. We need to encourage more women into construction and we must give them the opportunities and support to succeed.”

Jane worked her way up in the construction sector. She started as a trainee painter and decorator and now works as a director of a leading company.

More Than Just Moving Rumble

There is a common notion about the roles available in the construction industry. Many people believe the only roles available are bricklaying, plastering and moving and disposing of rumble. This is definitely not true.

The construction industry won’t exist without engineers and architects. And there is a demand for women in these roles too. In order for you to become an engineer or architect, you need to hold a university degree. It is hard work, but worth it.

There are also other more creative roles in the construction sector. These roles are decorating and painting, carpentry and stonemasonry. All of these roles require mastering a particular skill.

And according to numerous studies, women tend to pay more attention to detail. This is a really important attribute to have when it comes to working in construction. Especially in the more creative roles that have been mentioned in the previous paragraph.

But besides women having an advantage over men when comes to attention to detail, Forbes have identified four sustainable skills that women have over men. And here they are:

  • The Ability To Seek Out Opportunity
  • Networking and Finding New Contacts
  • Maintaining and Developing Relationships
  • Socially Adaptable

Final Thoughts

It is quite obvious to see that the construction sector does have a long way to go in terms of letting go of traditional views of women working in the construction. And I say that since only 12.8% of the UK construction workforce are women. But it not just the construction industry, it is also society as a whole.

Hiring more women in construction regardless of role would promote diversity and would eventually lead to social acceptance. Women do have a lot to offer in the construction industry, as shown in this article.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Feature image: Pexels