The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is urging construction firms to employ an increased number of women following research that revealed that 75% of industry employees believed women were under-represented due to perceptions of a sexist culture.
CITB’s research, released on International Women’s Day, identified a worrying lack of female role models in the construction industry as well as poor awareness of the jobs on offer. More than 1,500 industry employees were interviewed during the research, offering a unique insight into the sentiments of the industry.
The CITB are hopeful this awareness demonstrates a willingness within the industry to identify and address the problems of sexism and insufficient representation of women on the construction site.
Gillian Econopouly, head of research at the CITB, said: “The industry is on course for a major comeback, but we need a dynamic and diverse workforce to help deliver it. This poll shows that construction employers realise we are still a long way from overcoming the perceptions of sexism in our sector, which potentially keep women away.
“To attract the best skills and talent from all parts of society, we are challenging industry to make women and people from all backgrounds feel welcome and valued.”
Demonstrating the uphill battle that women of the construction industry, and those attempting to enter it, have faced – CITB board member Maria Pilford continued: “When I joined the construction industry 20 years ago I was told by one worker that I should not be allowed on site as I was a woman. We have moved a long way from that, but there is still much to do to fully address perceptions of sexism.”
A spokesperson for construction and worksite supply company, Manchester Safety Services, echoes these sentiments: “It is important that all facets and areas of the construction industry are inclusive to all professionals, regardless of gender, age or experience. This is the only way we can hope to fully progress standards, practices and relationships with the industry.”
Fairtrade Foundation also used International Women’s Day to action equal treatment and pay for female agricultural workers. Barbara Crowther, director of policy and public affairs at the Fairtrade Foundation, explained: “Ensuring that women farmers have the same opportunities to participate as their male counterparts will not only increase their income and their influence, but it could also boost the bottom line for businesses and improve development outcomes for communities in some of the world’s poorest countries.”