Business of Men

We need more women in men’s jobs

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The focus is lately on gender equality for pay, but part of the problem is the perception that there are ‘women’s jobs’ and ‘men’s jobs’ … and the best weapon in our arsenal is to make sure that gender divide blurs and eventually vanishes.

Yes, women have made some inroads into science and engineering. But when it comes to the lucrative trade professions, there is still a massive imbalance.

The construction and building industry is a prime example. Construction workforces are 97% male on an average – according to a recent report, the number is the same as it was 30 years ago.  So no progress in three decades!

According to a research from the National Women’s Law Center, women face extensive barriers to entry and workplace harassment on sites, in the construction industry. The research further highlights that women hold 2.6% of jobs in the entire construction industry, compared to 47% of all salary and wage jobs.

With pay in the construction industry twice as much as most female-dominated occupations, many women feel like they’re not being given a fair chance to prove their abilities, in turn, not being able to earn as much as men.

Mary Battle, aged 50, has been persuading women to join the cement trade with her, and she’s seen the number of women slowly increase. She believes women need to adorn a thick skin when dealing with men in the field. Mary is one of the women featured in the research published by the National Women’s Law Center. The author of the report, Neeta Chaudhry, believes it’s shocking to see such a small change in numbers since the 1980’s. She highlights various obstacles for women looking to pursue a career in the construction industry.

Neeta further said that hostility towards women and harassment on site are widely prevalent. Citing a US Department of Labor report, her research note highlights that nine out of ten women have experienced sexual harassment in the field. The small number of women who have chosen to keep a thick skin and remain in the field, say that men try to harass and belittle women only to make them quit; it is however, important to go on or else things won’t ever get better for women.

According to the female veterans of the industry, women who ignore the demeaning names given to them and the more pushy women are more likely to survive in the industry. The veterans believe it is time to step up for the rights of women and that they should be given an equal chance in an industry that has so much room for both genders.

Labor experts have highlighted the lack of skilled labor, and they believe that there are more opportunities for both genders now, than ever before. Gender diversity is alarmingly poor and a vast majority of women in the industry are seen sitting behind desks with mostly administration and accounting jobs.

While there is still a lot to do to overcome the roadblocks women face when starting a career in such fields, even industry opinion in the  male dominated construction field is of the view that gender stereotypes initiate in schools and that’s where you need to start to make a difference. Educating the young on such matters is highly recommended and various organizations have started campaigning for such movements.

About Amanda Rose

Founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit www.amandaroseofficial.com.

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