Lumber Toolkit
March 7, 2024
min read

Women in Construction 2023: A Retrospective

March 7, 2024
min read
Women in Construction

Inside the Blog

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As we kick off Women in Construction Week in 2024, let's delve into the reports published by various organizations in 2023 that highlight the challenges faced by women in the construction industry.

As we examine the status of women in construction across various regions, a common thread emerges: a shared set of challenges that persist regardless of geographical location. From diminished employment opportunities to wage disparities, inadequate childcare provisions to the absence of gender-friendly personal protective equipment (PPE) and maternity support, and even the chronic shortage of sanitary facilities, these hurdles are a universal experience for women in the construction industry worldwide.

Ambition Theory Report

The release of the Ambition Theory report in collaboration with Construction Education and Research (NCCER) provided valuable insights into the experiences of over 700 women in construction. The report uncovered a strong desire for leadership roles among women, alongside challenges such as limited mentorship opportunities, the need for greater flexibility, and a gendered pay gap. These findings underscored the importance of addressing systemic issues to foster inclusivity and support the advancement of 'women in construction 2023'.


Future of Construction: Role of Women

An insightful article about the Future of Construction and role of women highlights the many issues faced by women in trades all over Europe. Across Europe, the pressing need for skilled workers is evident, with countries like Portugal and Italy facing significant demand for construction labor. As the industry grapples with these challenges, it becomes increasingly clear that the full participation of women is essential for driving growth and innovation.

United States

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Report

A report published by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shed light on the underrepresentation of women and people of color in the construction industry. Despite a notable increase in women's employment in construction over the past decade, women still comprise only 11% of all workers in the industry, with a mere 4% in higher-paid, higher-skilled trades. Similarly, Black and Asian workers are significantly underrepresented in the construction workforce compared to their share of the overall labor force, highlighting persistent disparities in the industry.


Building Commission NSW Women in Construction Report

Building Commission NSW published its first-ever report on ‘Women in Construction’ in the beginning of 2024, shedding light on a persistent issue that demands immediate attention to align with productivity objectives. Despite women's significant contributions to our workforce, gender parity within the NSW construction sector remains stagnant. Nationally, the representation of women in this field plummeted from 17% in 2006 to a mere 12.9% in 2020, highlighting not the lack of capability or industry openness to female talent but rather the entrenched systemic hurdles and biases.

The report's revelations are disconcerting, with a staggering 71% of women citing discrimination and half reporting instances of sexual harassment. These firsthand accounts underscore the pressing need for reform. With NSW projected to face a shortage of 100,000 skilled construction workers by 2030, addressing this issue is imperative for shaping the industry's future workforce. The absence of women in small and medium-sized construction enterprises is particularly glaring, with 46% of tier 2 and 3 companies employing less than 5% female staff, and 35% having no women on their payroll at all. This not only represents a squandered opportunity but also poses a hindrance to the potential growth and innovation that a diverse workforce can catalyze.


Pink Collar Skilling Report

The joint report from the World Trade Center and Primus Partners provides a comprehensive look at Pink Collar workers in India, with a particular focus on the real estate and construction industries. Its aim is to spotlight the barriers hindering greater female involvement in real estate and propose strategies to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment. India's Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) currently stands at 25.1% as per the 2020-21 annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), showing some improvement but still lagging behind the global average.

Within India's vast construction and real estate sector, which employs 57 million individuals, a striking gender disparity is evident: only 7 million of those workers are women, while the remaining 50 million are men. Moreover, female informal workers in construction earn 30-40% less than their male counterparts, underscoring the pervasive gender inequality within the industry.

As we conclude our retrospective on Women in Construction 2023, it's evident that despite strides made, significant challenges persist across the globe. Reports from various regions underscore a common narrative: women in construction face systemic barriers that impede their full participation and advancement in the industry.

The Ambition Theory report and its counterparts shed light on the aspirations of women in construction, highlighting the need for greater support, mentorship, and equal opportunities. From Europe to the United States, and Australia to India, the story remains consistent: gender disparities in employment, pay, and representation persist, signaling an urgent call for action.

The revelations from these reports demand immediate attention and concerted efforts towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in construction. It's not just about addressing the shortage of skilled workers or meeting productivity objectives; it's about recognizing the invaluable contributions of women and ensuring their voices are heard and their rights respected.

As we commemorate Women in Construction Week in 2024, let's recommit ourselves to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the construction industry. By dismantling systemic barriers, advocating for equal opportunities, and championing the rights of women, we can pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future for all.

Lumber's She Builds Nation Report 2024

Adding to the discourse on women in construction, Lumber's She Builds Nation report, based on a survey of women construction owners, shed light on three main concerns:

  • Lack of gender-friendly restrooms
  • Lack of gender-friendly and maternity-friendly PPE for women
  • Pay disparity for women.

To catalyze change and empower women in construction, let's unite behind the findings of the She Builds Nation report. Join us in advocating for equal opportunities, fostering inclusivity, and breaking down barriers in the construction industry. Together, let's build a more equitable and thriving future for women builders everywhere. Take action now and be part of the movement to #SheBuildsNation!

Dive into the She Builds Nation report and take action now!
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