In the lead up to International Women’s Day, The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has released a paper exploring why so few young women are joining the construction industry.
It found girls were being exposed to negative portrayals of the industry from an early age, preventing them from visualising themselves in the industry and discouraging it as a career path.
Parents were highlighted as a major source of discouragement, with many girls claiming they would want them to “aim higher” than a career in construction.
Other mentors such as teachers were also failing to recommend the industry, with most girls claiming it was never suggested as an option.
“Perceived exclusivity and gender imbalance” was cited as another major deterrent. The lack of visible female champions in the industry means that most girls’ only exposure to women in the industry was as lollipop holders and traffic directors.
This perceived imbalance is reflected the national statistics, the report found. “Despite its prominence, construction remains Australia’s most male-dominated industry, with the lowest representation of women of all industry sectors.”
The report was authored by Dr Phillippa Carnemolla. It is the result of interviews conducted with high school girls and nine years’ worth of data on the UTS Bachelor of Construction Project Management degree.