According to ONS data, women currently make up around 11-15% of roles in construction, although market predictions reveal that the numbers could improve to closer to 25% by 2020.
Earlier this year, Construction News launched a new initiative called ‘Inspire Me’, in a bid to raise awareness of the challenges women in construction face, put the spotlight on women in leadership roles, and attract more women do the field.
The event was oversubscribed and had much interest, with general consensus concluding that though there doesn’t seem to be intentional discriminating against women from men, but a lack of awareness about the current inequality and uncertainty about how to rectify the gap.
Tom Fitzpatrick, Construction News, said: “We will host events to inspire and equip women with the tools to become leaders in this industry. We will produce a special issue and digital report in March to coincide with International Women’s Day, a documentary on women as leaders in construction, and much more content throughout the year.”
It has been discovered that women may be reluctant to begin careers in construction due to fear of derogatory comments, lack of flexibility, and a perception that it is a male-dominated industry where women have to work harder to prove themselves.
However, far more women are now joining in positions such as surveyors and construction managers, which is hugely encouraging and demonstrates the progression being made.
There has been an increase in the number of women in senior positions from 6% in 2005, to 16% in 2015, and companies and governing bodies are working to eradicate the gender balance, yet there is still some way to go before women are truly well represented in construction.
What does the initiative and others like it aim to do?
- Eliminate derogatory behaviour
- Offer clear development and training opportunities
- Aim to get young women into the industry straight out of college
- Offer flexible working opportunities
- Promote female role models who will inspire future generations
David Lewis, managing director, integra people, warrington