2016 IWD Scholarship Winner
RIGID, NARROW AND INFORMAL: Shifting the gender imbalance in construction
The construction industry is Australia’s third largest employer and a central economic player in the Australian economy. Despite this, construction remains unyielding as Australia’s most male dominated industry.
NAWIC and leading construction companies recognise that by maintaining the gender status quo in construction, the industry is denying itself of valuable talent and undermining its existing workforce.
To date, initiatives aimed at shifting constructions gender imbalance have been generic in approach and focused on women and individual agency. This report finds that:
- Rigid work practices, narrow career pathways and informal talent management operate across the career landscape in construction to undermine women’s participation and success in the sector.
- The same practices also couple to undermine the enjoyment, health, and wellbeing of all construction professionals – men and women.
- An acceptance of sexism exists in construction that undermines women’s enjoyment, success and attraction.
The construction industry needs to change to attract women and maintain good talent.
- Existing construction practices need to be analysed and challenged and leaders need to take ownership of gender diversity.
- Construction projects need to be planned, resourced and managed with employee wellbeing in mind.
- No tolerance to sexism must be adopted by all bodies operating in construction – clients, industry bodies, contractors, union and workforce.