75 per cent of respondents to the inaugural National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) ‘State of the Industry’ survey said they have experienced gender-based adversity within their construction career.

The survey, which was sent to all NAWIC members, gathered data around job positions, salary ranges, working hours and industry sentiment.  

The survey also asked for responses to questions around equal opportunity, gender-based adversity and workplace experiences. 

Alongside 75 per cent of respondents saying they have experienced gender-based adversity within their construction career, 50 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that they have received inappropriate or unwanted attention from colleagues. 

43 per cent disagreed with the statement: ‘In my industry, all genders have the same opportunities and career advancements.”

When asked for additional information, respondents commented:

“Discovering male counterparts with less skills were on a higher salary than me.” 

“The usual unwanted advances, assumed I would take minutes/make coffee/clean up simply because I’m female.” 

“Unconscious bias is absolutely pervasive in the industry, from small micro aggressions to overt sexist behaviour.” 

“Being told you’re there as a token woman, and as the only woman in the room being asked to take notes in meetings and get coffees, being left out of activities like golf days and more recently, not having support for flexible working arrangements or breastfeeding facilities.” 

“Though the tide has changed somewhat, it is still very much a boys club. I had been told previously that I should just focus on the role I was doing and aim to be the best at that, not aim for management.” 

NAWIC National Chair, Christina Yiakkoupis, said, “Gathering data and comments from our growing membership gives NAWIC an even louder voice and an opportunity to draw attention to aspects of the industry that are lagging behind as well as changes that need to be made.”  

83 per cent of respondents also stated that they agree or strongly agree that the role of women within the industry is changing for the better. 

“The number of women joining the construction industry is on the rise and the majority of our NAWIC members are seeing changes that show we are heading in the right direction,” Ms Yiakkoupis said.

In order to achieve an equitable construction industry where women fully participate, NAWIC’s goal is to drive changes that will aid in the increased recruitment, retention and further vocational development of women within all facets of the construction industry. 

This includes a focus on advocacy, education, connection and community. 

 

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