Demolishing Gender Structures

This report presents findings from recent research investigating why policies and strategies to attract, retain and support the progression of women professionals in large construction companies have, for the most part, failed.

The ethical case for gender equality is grounded in arguments of social justice, equality and fairness. It is based on the premise that discrimination is inexcusable and that all people should be treated fairly and equally and granted fairness of opportunity.

The business case for gender equality asserts that workforce equality reduces staff turnover and attrition, widens the talent pool of candidates, enhances the talent attraction of companies, addresses skills shortages and develops an adaptive and innovative workforce.

Decreased industry gender segregation also reduces the gender pay gap. As a result, gender equality in the workforce leads to higher national and organisational productivity and economic growth. Improved gender equality in construction could counter the industry’s poor public image and broaden the talent pool of candidates considering a construction career. 

The research showed that large construction companies are actively piloting a range of initiatives to support gender equality for example flexibility initiatives, wellbeing initiatives and gender targets. Large construction companies have made strides in addressing the gender pay gap and offer a suite of policies to support gender equality including childcare rebate provisions and paid parental leave.

The construction sector has come a long way according to participants, but it still has some way to go in providing equality for women professionals working in the industry.