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Caution, women building! – The financial

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Gone are those days in the eighties of the last century, when in the classroom where I trained professionally as a civil engineer, we only had the company of a woman. Today, fortunately, in any university that offers this career, it is common to find a large number of female students.

A macho culture has traditionally prevailed in the construction industry, both in field work and in technical and administrative work. Field work, due to the harshness of the activities, many of them at the mercy of inclement weather, little flexibility in schedules and many other factors, has been unattractive for women, so perhaps it is not so much about a matter of gender discrimination, but of interest and convenience. In the offices of construction companies or supervisory positions there could be a more favorable environment for female participation, but with painful clarity it must be recognized that the underrepresentation of gender still has a very large gap to close.

Before the pandemic, women made up just 12 percent of the global workforce in the construction industry. By country or region, the share was 8 percent in the European Union, 10 percent in the United States, 11 percent in the United Kingdom, 12 percent in Australia and 13 percent in Canada. Even Sweden, a country that boasts one of the world’s first feminist governments, women in the construction industry barely reach 10.2 percent.

If we only consider fieldwork, the fraction is minuscule, less than 2 per cent in the UK and just under 4 per cent in the US. Although there are exceptions, for example in China, 14 percent of construction workers are women and in Nigeria they reach 16.3 percent.

But this trend could be changing for the better, and we are hopeful that it will continue in the long term. On the one hand, the pandemic demonstrated in all sectors that face-to-face training is not essential, and that it is possible to be more flexible in talent recruitment and retention policies, which has sparked greater interest among women in occupying positions in the construction industry and greater openness on the part of employers.

In the United States, from February 2020 to September 2021, more than 3 million jobs held by women were lost in all sectors. However, the construction sector was one of the very few where jobs held by women actually increased, and they did so by 300,000 jobs.

The expected post-pandemic boom for this industry, coupled with a chronic shortage of skilled workers, could become the much-needed catalyst to make this sector more diverse, and no longer be deprived of the enormous talent, skills and other values ​​that women can bring to the world of construction.

Raul Asis Monforte Gonzalez

E-mail: raul@mienergiamx.com

Facebook: Raul Asis Monforte Gonzalez

Twitter: @raulmonforteg

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