NAWIC – women in construction
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is a network for women in the field of construction.

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.

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  1. And I was remiss; readers should down load and read Dr Phillippa Carnemolla paper. It is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Firstly Phillippa has industry experience, second she has an industrial design perspective and most importantly her work and conclusions are in readable english – a challenge for many academics. My feedback from industry is that those involved in Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) are finding women are shining in the areas of multi-disciplinary design management, working closely with supply chains, embracing new technologies in manufacturing, systems management and customer focus. The challenge is to make sure that these recognised attributes are developed from a deeper technical and applied experience base than is occurring in the industry today. Well done Phillippa See paper link here;

  2. The Construction Industry needs to develop a better view of its future self. This is essential to attract the best boys and girls to the industry. And new learning pathways must be developed that stop suggesting a university starting point is the best way in. The successful constructors of the future will have sound technical understanding of the industry’s processes and how buildings are made. These capabilities are not being embedded as is evident from the current construction narrative. Hope is ahead with the massive new investment pledged at state and federal levels to rebuild the ailing TAFE system – but this will only work if a transition to modern construction capabilities are pursued, not business as usual. Women in construction have bright prospects as they are already highly regarded in key areas that will define the future industry.