For many years, the construction industry has been dominated by men, however in recent years; more and more women are beginning to take up important roles in construction. As the world begins to see a more diverse representation of women in this industry, women must receive as much support as necessary to help them integrate into the industry as seamlessly as possible.
5 Challenges Faced by Women in Construction
When the average person pictures a construction worker, they picture a man. This makes it rather intimidating for women to break into the industry. So even though many women know how to manage a construction project effectively, not many of them can thrive in the construction industry. Here are a few challenges any woman could expect to face when trying to work in construction.
1. Inadequacy of Safety Apparel and Equipment
Several types of safety apparel used in construction sites are made for male body types. These equipment are safer when they’re form-fitted, for instance, wearing loose-fitted clothing while working with inflammable material constitutes a fire hazard. The same way a hard hat may fall off one’s head if not properly fitted. Since many companies do not make construction safety apparel for females, women have sometimes had to put on safety equipment made for men. This means that sometimes these apparel could be heavier or bigger exposing the woman to all kinds of possible accidents.
According to Goidel and Siegel, a team of construction accident lawyers in NYC, when construction accidents happen, employers utilize all kinds of rigorous defense efforts to avoid liability. This means that every woman working on a construction site has the responsibility of making sure that their safety equipment and apparel fit. However, if an accident does happen, women should not be afraid to seek compensation however unapproachable employers may seem.
2. Male-Domination in the Industry
Even though many players in the industry are now more open to hiring women, women who indeed get hired may often find themselves being the only women on a worksite. The feeling of being outnumbered by men could make it difficult for a woman to find some essential support networks at work.
3. Sexual Harassment in the Work Place
There are longstanding stereotypes about women getting sexually harassed just walking by construction sites. For years, women have had to deal with inappropriate behavior from men on construction sites. Many companies in the construction industry are taking steps towards creating an appropriate and safe workspace in the office and at work sites. However, this doesn’t change the fact that harassment is still a major concern for many women working in male-dominated fields. One way to get around this problem when experiencing this problem is to have a deliberate discussion with supervisors once employed. Discuss expectations for appropriate behavior and the company’s position on sexual harassment in the workplace.
4. Unisex Toilets
A woman on a construction site should prepare for the possibility of having to share a toilet with men. This means that anyone that’s accustomed to using gender-specific toilets may be a little bit disappointed working in construction.
5. Unrealistic Muscle Strength Expectations
Some parts of construction require a lot of muscle strength. They require applicants for these jobs to possess a certain amount of physical strength, to be able to lift loads of certain weight. These types of requirements exclude women from qualifying for certain positions in the industry. Fortunately, many jobs in construction do not require this type of brute strength.
A Tip for Women Who Want to Succeed in Construction
As of the year 2018, the National Association of Women in Construction reported that only about 1.5 of women in the entire U.S working population, were working in the construction industry. For these statistics to improve here is a tip for women who want to overcome the challenges in the construction industry. Learn as much as you can about the field.
It’s easier for a woman to succeed in the industry if they’re knowledgeable. One can remain knowledgeable by seizing every opportunity to acquire new knowledge and by asking a lot of questions.
Additionally, taking up every opportunity to learn a new skill is also a great way of staying relevant in the field. It’s important to take up extra responsibilities whenever possible, shadowing meetings and leading projects when possible.
Doing this helps to build one’s credibility. More still, knowledge bestows on one, a certain kind of confidence, which every woman would need if they want to succeed in the industry.