Construction is a backbreaking business; however, only some in the sector face the same challenges. As a matter of fact, those working onsite and in the trades endure a fair share of physical difficulties, while the office crew faces their share of mental hurdles and stress.
And while several of the most reported challenges in construction – long hours, slow payment, dirt, and unexpected weather – do not discriminate based upon gender, most of them are still unique to the female employees in the industry, who make up 11% of the construction employment, as of the moment.
Generally, women are happy to be part of the industry; however, they constantly talk about their biggest challenges. In this blog post, discover these challenges and some tips on how to address them effectively.
Women in Construction – Brief History
While it can still be surprising, women have been long involved in the construction sector way back in the medieval ages. In fact, the first record of women working in the construction sector dates back to the 13th century. It refers to a particular group of women in Nevarre who were employed as laborers, working with stone structures and wood.
A record shows that from the 13th to the 17th century, there were more skilled female laborers in construction and tradespeople in different parts of France, Germany, and England. Historians confirmed that hiring women as construction laborers was a common thing in the past.
And then, the situation changed later in the mid-18th century, during the Industrial Revolution, and this completely changed the narrative. The labor market has then expanded, and women are invited openly back to the construction sector as laborers and tradespeople. And this time, they were no longer condemned to work in construction.
Over time, the world and the construction landscape started to see the great potential of women in different fields – engineering, architecture, trade, etc.
Challenges Women Face in Construction
The construction job site is one of the most dangerous areas to work in. As a matter of fact, it ranks the highest by the total number of fatal work injuries. Moreover, construction is known as a lesser safe place for female employees.
As the percentage of women in the industry is continuously growing, their safety is becoming less important. On top of that, many construction companies still need more custom fits for women, resulting in more danger for them onsite.
If your company has a group of female workers, ensure to provide the right PPEs and safety equipment. Developing a more effective risk management approach to address and solve safety issues is also important.
For an instant safety boost to heighten the protection of your female workers, deploy construction planning management software! This fully-integrated construction software is integrated with many features with tracking and scheduling capabilities – helping you monitor your crew’s situations onsite and offsite.
Many people think part of the construction sector means getting their hands dirty, which is not true. Construction is not only about the structure of buildings or the process of bricklaying. In fact, there are some types of work that do not require to be in the construction field. Anyone can still be part of the sector by being a subcontractor, designer, project manager, architect, and more.
Most women still believe that the industry has little to offer them, and if they only know the available positions open, they will be eager to get the spot immediately. So, if you have a team of amazing female laborers in your construction business, break the stereotypes.
Pro Tip: The stereotypes can only be broken by continuously raising awareness of your company’s wide-ranging job opportunities and positions. In addition, having the latest project management tools for construction gives you another advantage, too – especially when you make it accessible to everyone, including women.
3. Gender Segregation
The vast majority of the onsite workers are men. And it makes women feel intimidated to work on the construction site. A study shows that approximately a third of women have wavered to enter the construction sector due to their fear of sexism.
There can be harassment, and punishment may sometimes not be taken into action. What you should do as a project leader or a business owner is to orient your people, and educate everyone regarding the importance of respect, regardless the gender and authenticity.
4. Poor communication
Women in construction declare that communication in the sector is lacking. There are times when communication issues are between the contractors and subcontractors, and in many cases, it is between men and women employees.
Poor communication grinds productivity to a halt. So, if miscommunication becomes a big issue in your workforce, ensure you look for the best ways to fix it. There are numerous benefits of using construction software, and real-time communication and collaboration are two of the most common benefits. On top of that, the successful implementation of this project management software gives you real-time updates and improves transparency and accountability in your entire workforce.
5. The sector’s ignorance of the problem
The worst part is the lack of recognition of these recurring issues. Research shows that the issue of gender all-inclusiveness is more of a construction industry problem. Below are the current statistics:
- 65% of the companies stated that there are not enough women. Also, a lot of companies tend to fail to attract talented female candidates.
- 59% of the companies did consider the construction sector quite poor at hiring skilled female laborers.
- 60% acknowledge that the sector failed to offer a flexible working environment for women.
- 52% declare that the industry has not done any better in assisting female workers who have taken a career break.
- 71% of the construction firms stated that they need and will benefit from having more female workers in their construction workforce.
Yet, at the same time:
- 71% of the participants believe their respective company is imposing a women-friendly environment for its female laborers.
- 62% of the participants strongly believe that their company is great at hiring and retaining women workers.
- Only 23% of construction companies consistently seek to recruit women.
- And only 30% believe that their company has yet to improve the gender balance.
On the other hand, if you take a closer look at the statistics above – you will notice that while most construction companies realize there are gender quality issues, only a tiny percentage of these companies does serious work to improve the current situation. So, as a construction company, you must learn to look at the current circumstance of your own company objectively, recognizing some issues that need to resolve immediately. Otherwise, things will never change.
6. The working environment
We mentioned above that many companies fail to provide the right PPEs and safety equipment to their workers. Unfortunately, that is just one of the many problems because a not-female-friendly environment is another issue to deal with.
One of the most common examples is the lack of women-friendly restrooms. Portable and easy-to-access restrooms are necessary for any job site in multiple locations. But unfortunately, only a few restrooms are designed to meet female workers’ needs.
When building a working environment for your employees, prioritize the needs of your female workforce. And whether the lack of proper restrooms is the problem or other concerns, make sure to find the right solution.
How Can You Better Support Female Workforce in Construction?
Apart from addressing the concerns above, there are a good number of ways you can show support to the women in your construction workforce:
- Foster a culture of innovation, advancement, and leadership: Having a diverse construction workforce means having females at the top to be role models and leaders to other women. In addition, invest in the latest technologies, like the best project management software for beginners, to foster a culture of innovation and advancement. Over time, you will reap many benefits from imposing all of these.
- Provide access to training opportunities and education: Ensure women advance within your construction company by providing career opportunities for greater professional development, including online classes, certificate programs, and more – to expand skills and develop new ones.
- Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace: A diverse workplace contributes tremendously to the success of your construction business. Harnessing skillset, knowledge, and experience within your workforce leads to creativity and innovation that can make your people and business thrive even more. To incorporate inclusion and diversity, promote values within ensure to build of a welcoming and women-friendly company culture.
Resolve Workforce Issues with Pro Crew Schedule
Now that you know the most common challenges women face in the industry, we hope you start to impose certain measures to address these issues and find ways to solve them. You can start by imposing gender equivalency and making your construction workforce more diverse – establishing and maintaining a female-friendly culture. On top of that, technology, as always, can provide a workable solution to any problem – including the gap between men and women in construction.
Adopt Pro Crew Schedule – one of the leading software in the market and a trusted construction project management software that streamlines your construction work approaches. It guarantees continuous improvement to your workforce’s productivity and accountability. Simply put, it has all the powerful features you need to keep up and track every aspect of your construction business – especially your workforce.