The construction and mining industries have long been considered industries for men. 2022 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that construction and mining are the two most male-dominated industries in Australia with just 18 per cent and 20 per cent of their workforces occupied by women respectively. Gender inequality remains a hot topic; Australia’s first private sector gender pay gap report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is making national and global headlines, finding that male-dominated industries had the largest gender pay gap, with construction topping the list at 31.8 per cent.  

Nevertheless, the increasing appetite for transparency in workforce gender inequality suggests times are changing, and it’s essential for workplaces to evolve with them. Nyaisha Sullivan, Construction Lead at Veriforce CHAS, explores five key strategies to make workplaces more inclusive for women.

Niche Sullivan

Review flexible working policies

An impactful way to attract and retain women in industries such as construction is to reevaluate and expand flexible working policies. Traditionally, construction and mining work has been associated with rigid schedules and on-site presence, but while on-site workers are practical about the limited opportunities to work from home, momentum is growing for other areas of workplace flexibility such as hybrid working and compressed or flexible hours much in line with other industries. 

Under Australian law, although certain employees are legally entitled to flexible working arrangements under the Fair Work Act (FW Act), anyone can request flexibility. See the Australian Government’s Workplace Flexibility Diagnostic Tool for more ideas on improving flexible work arrangements.  

Ensure workers have access to inclusive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a critical aspect of construction and mining work, and PPE must be designed with inclusivity in mind. Historically, PPE has been designed primarily for male bodies, leading to discomfort and safety concerns for women. Where PPE is required, companies should invest in and provide PPE tailored to the anatomical differences of female workers. Better still, companies can involve workers in the PPE trial and selection and seek suppliers who offer support in finding workers protective products that fit. International Women in Mining has published a comprehensive PPE directory detailing a list of suppliers of women’s PPE both in Australia and around the world. 

Review the provision of welfare facilities

Construction and mining sites often lack adequate welfare facilities, and this can disproportionately affect women. By thoroughly reviewing existing facilities, businesses can identify areas for improvement, ensuring that women have access to clean and safe bathrooms, changing rooms and rest areas. Addressing these concerns promotes inclusivity and contributes to the workforce’s overall well-being and satisfaction.  

Implement a menopause policy

The menopausal transition is a natural phase of life for many women, and addressing its challenges is crucial for creating an inclusive workplace. In 2023, the Federal Government announced a Senate inquiry into the impact of menopause on women’s health, careers and finances. While there is not yet any government legislation on menstrual and menopause leave, many see this inquiry as a step closer to policy change. In the meantime, a number of companies in the private sector have introduced their own policies. These might typically include provisions for flexible working hours, temperature control on construction sites, and support networks for women experiencing menopausal symptoms. By normalising conversations around menopause and providing the necessary support, companies can foster a more inclusive environment for female workers.  

Consult women on what they need  

Perhaps the most fundamental step towards creating an inclusive workplace is actively seeking input from female employees. Conducting surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions can provide valuable insights into women’s specific needs and challenges in the construction industry. By involving women in decision-making processes, companies can tailor their policies and practices to address the unique concerns of their female workforce. 


Creating a more inclusive workplace for women requires a proactive approach. By reviewing and adapting flexible working policies, ensuring access to inclusive PPE, improving welfare facilities, implementing menopause policies, and actively consulting women on their needs, traditionally male-dominated industries can begin to foster an environment where all employees can thrive. Embracing diversity not only benefits individual workers but contributes to the overall success and innovation of industry as a whole. 

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Veriforce CHAS. For more information, visit

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