Women within the Construction Industry

women in construction

Women in Construction week takes place on 7 – 14th March 2021. In dedication to Women in Construction Week as well as International women’s day this blog is all about celebrating the women within the construction industry and how to encourage more women into a career within the construction industry.

Equal pay. Equal opportunities. Equal rights. In this day and age, both genders and their level of equality is a topic of hot discussion amongst all ages and industries. About 14% of the construction workforce are women. Of which 44% of roles women have within the industry are in management, 28% are in sales and office, 21% are in service occupation. 6% production, transportation and material handling, 1% resourcefulness and maintenance. As well as this only 13% of construction firms are owned by Women.

There are many reasons why women may stray from the industry. It is a common misconception within the construction industry that it is old fashioned. It may be due to the opinion that there are unequal growth opportunities for women, that they feel they are under constant scrutiny from their male co-workers, even the opinion that there is a lack of female role models in the sector. Or it may be that the roles may simply not appeal to women. However, thousands of exceptionally talented female construction workers would certainly disagree.

Strong women in the field are no less iconic and important than men in the business. Throughout history there are many examples of women having a significant contribution to the industry.

Here are just a few examples of women making their mark within the construction industry:

Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676) was the first woman to take on an active role in a building project, controlling the designs and building programme for the improvements to her Westmorland estates

  • St Regis in Chicago

The St Regis is the tallest structure in the world designed by a woman. Upon completion it is Chicago’s third-tallest building!

  • Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge is also known as ‘Ladies Bridge,’ as it was constructed by around 350 women during WWII. Remember this the next time you walk over the bridge.

  •  Brooklyn Bridge

When her husband had fallen ill during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, Emily Warren Roebling served as her husband’s spokesmen and carried out the duties of the chief engineer of the bridge for her husband. 

The UK’s construction and heavy machinery profession is set to create over 168,000 careers before 2023. However, industry experts have said that only around 14% of workers in the heavy machinery industry are female, according to a November (2017) report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Within that 14%, most women work in admin-based roles. People in the world of construction and heavy machinery are working on weakening the idea that roles in the industry are male jobs.

Despite the field being male dominated does not mean that there is no place for women within the industry. The heavy machinery industry has seen an increase in female workers over the last few years and there are a vast majority of roles available. From legal roles to health and safety, there are various positions for interested candidates to choose from. Female workers in this field have paved the way for a revolution, taking many roles that have been given to men for so long.

While there may be a long way to go into turning around the stigma of women within the construction industry, there has been a big step forward of progress within the sector. There are a number of campaigns and charities campaigning for equality and encouraging women to pursue a career within the industry. With strong and successful women finding a career in a vast majority of roles there is a definitive growing trend in female empowerment in this line of work. One that we hope continues to grow.

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