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The Future For Women In Construction In SA

Barloworld Equipment, a household name within the construction industry, has set itself the task of ensuring that at least 40% of their staff force is made up of female employees. The business, in this very drastic move, firmly stands behind the empowerment of women within the construction industry in South Africa. However, is it necessary for women within the construction industry to be empowered? And what is it like for a woman working in the construction sector?Current Conditions While cases of physical abuse targeting women are not very common within the industry in South Africa, women in construction still suffer incredible amounts of verbal abuse pertaining to their gender. This is according to the most recent studies by the Sam Tambani Research Institute, where they determined that all women within the industry are exposed to discriminatory language from male colleagues.This unfortunate occurrence stems from immediate supervisors rather than men of the same rank, as supervisors prefer to work with other men beneath them. This means that women in construction lack the support necessary from their managers. Unfortunately, this occurrence often means that women express the uncomfortable conditions that they work in with friends and family, and has resulted in fewer women applying for positions within the industry.What Needs To Be Done? Firstly, a lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of decision makers and well-regarded businesses within the construction industry (such as Barloworld). More businesses need to enforce drives toward hiring and empowering women in order to encourage and support women in the trade.Additionally, empowerment for women must not only exist at the entry level within the construction industry. Government incentives to place women in powerful roles within the sector, particularly as directors, shareholders, and operations/executive officers will have a trickle-down effect, allowing women in entry-level positions to feel safe and assured that they are supported and protected from the very top of their organisation.We look forward to more businesses adopting Barloworld's campaign to encourage women within the construction sector.


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