• Sandeep Nune

Women in Construction Industry

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

Construction is one of the most influential industries in the global economy. In the male-dominated world of construction, women are still encountering glass ceilings but are also breaking the mold of people who built. Globally, only 9% of the construction workers are female, a number of women working in construction sites are smaller, as most of them choose to work in administrative roles and office positions.

In India, on an account, 50% of the construction workers in India are women, but only 1.4% of them are working as architects, designers, engineers, and administrative roles, rest of them are labor workforce. whereas in the USA, approximately 939,000 women were employed in various occupation sectors of the construction industry. Women now make up 9.1 percent of the construction industry in the United States, these numbers are dropping in recent years.

Women still face difficulties?

In construction industry, women face many gender biased challenges, sexual harassment, lack of resources and benefits, availability of basic sanitation and first-aid facilities. Injury Risk, Most construction protection equipment is still designed with men in mind. The poor fit leaves women at a higher risk of being injured on the field.

Women professionals are able to join the construction industry after their education, but due to its work culture of long and unscheduled working hours and requirement of the staff to travel frequently to the construction sites, they find it difficult to be retained in the industry. EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) research in UK shows that in the country about 30,000 women leave their jobs annually on account of poor maternity rights and women from construction industry form a major component of this group. Similar scenario can be seen in India. There are also issues of facilities provided at construction sites.

Women in the U.S. earn on average 81.1 percent of what men make. The gender pay gap is much narrower in the construction industry. In construction, women earn on average 95.7 percent of what men make.

Globally construction industry is facing an ongoing skills shortage and to fill the skills gap In coming years it is required to retain women workforce by changing work environment and providing required organisational level support and family support. Organisations perceive that women have better capabilities for research and design activities and do not involve themselves in disruptive activities. Thus, organisations also need to plan complimentary work assignments as per strengths of men and women employees and this would beneficial for the organisation and the industry.

Why Women Should Join Construction

There are many benefits to why women should consider a career in construction, the shortage of female leaders provides opportunities for women to improve team performance, contribute fresh perspectives, and advance their careers and have room for growth.

On average, women who work construction and trade careers earn up to 30% more than traditional female-dominated careers like administrative assistants and childcare.

In the next five years, the need for construction workers is expected to grow to over 1.6 million people. This opens up the opportunity for high-paying, stable jobs for women.

Choosing a career in construction means joining the ranks of women who are spearheading the industry movement — women like Kim Roy, the first female CEO to lead one of ENR’s top contracting companies, and Jennifer Vides, a superintendent at Turner Construction who attained her role at just 26 years old. Architect Zaha Mohammad Hadid(1950 –2016) is one of the most famous women architects. She is known for designing structures with fluid architectural forms. In India some women role models from construction industry are Shakuntala A. Bhagat(1933 –2012), the first woman civil engineer in the country and Annie Sinha Roy, the first and only tunnel engineer in India. Shakuntala was involved in evolving the Quadricon modular bridge system that involves the construction of a prefabricated bridge from standardized modular mass produced steel components. Annie has worked on Bengaluru Metro and is now working in Chennai. She has also gone to Doha for work. I would like to sum it up with the advice to all young women in the industry that support should only be a facilitating factor, there also needs to be an inner resolve of embracing the requirements of construction industry and excelling with the inherent strengths that women have.


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