19 May

Where are all the women? Why 99% of construction site workers are male.

Excerpts from an article originally published in The Guardian newspaper sent to us by Tessa Purdy of Midas Construction. If you see/hear of articles that you’d like to share, please send to us via the Contact Us page.

When Philippa Tuttiett started helping her dad on building sites at the age of 10, it could have been an obvious beginning to a career in construction. But it wasn’t until years later, after encouragement from her university lecturer, that she realised it could be a genuine career move for a woman. “Building was in the family,” she says. “My father and grandfather were both builders, so it was in the blood. But like most girls, I never ever thought about it as a career option.

Gender diversity in the construction industry is shockingly poor. Women make up just 11% of the entire workforce, but even this figure includes many who work behind a desk, often in design, management or secretarial roles. On building sites themselves, it is estimated that 99% of workers are men. The UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe and only 14% of entrants to engineering and technology first degree courses are women.

Holly Porter, who runs a networking group for female construction workers, Chicks With Bricks, explains: “The industry has been pretty stagnant in terms of ratios of women to men for quite a long time. There are certain areas where things are a lot better, like the design industry. But if you look at manual careers the proportion of women is absolutely minimal.”

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