Why do South African women choose careers in construction? : research article

This article analyses the factors influencing the choices of careers in construction by South African women. Literature was reviewed on challenges facing women in construction which contribute to their choices of careers in a traditionally male-dominated industry such as construction. Questionnaires...

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Published in: Acta structilia Vol. 16; no. 2; pp. 46 - 68
Main Authors: Madikizela, Kolosa, Haupt, Theo
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Published: University of the Free State 01-01-2009
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Summary: This article analyses the factors influencing the choices of careers in construction by South African women. Literature was reviewed on challenges facing women in construction which contribute to their choices of careers in a traditionally male-dominated industry such as construction. Questionnaires were conducted with multiple samples that included construction organisations, construction students and professional women working in construction. The study found that women had a role to play in the construction industry and that they could build successful careers within the sector. However, this was not easy given the various barriers to entry such as gender-based discrimination against them, the harsh work environment of the construction, the lack of sufficient knowledge about the industry itself, and the lack of successful women in construction as role models. There was evidence of discrimination and sexual harassment. All these factors impacted negatively on the choices of careers in construction by South African women. The study stimulates debate about how the low representation of women in construction can be addressed and how construction careers for women can be promoted and encouraged. This article makes a contribution to understanding the factors that have marginalised women in a male-dominated industry and provides some indication of approaches to attract more women into the sector. Consequently, the resource pool will be enlarged given the prevalent acute skills shortage in the industry. Hierdie artikel analiseer die faktore wat die beroepskeuse van Suid-Afrikaanse vroue in die konstruksiebedryf beïnvloed. 'n Literatuurstudie is gedoen oor die uitdagings wat vroue in konstruksie in die gesig staar wat bydra tot hulle loopbaankeuses in 'n tradisioneel manlikgedomineerde industrie soos konstruksie. Die studie het bevind dat vroue 'n rol te speel het in die konstruksie-industrie en dat hulle suksesvolle loopbane binne die sektor kan bou.Dit was nietemin nie maklik om die industrie te betree gegewe die verskeie struikelblokke soos geslagsgebaseerde diskriminasie teen hulle, die harde werksomgewing van die konstruksie, die gebrek aan genoegsame kennis oor die industrie en die gebrek aan suksesvolle vrouerolmodelle in konstruksie nie. Die studie stimuleer debat oor hoe die lae verteenwoordiging van vroue in konstruksie aangespreek kan word en hoe konstruksieloopbane vir vroue bevorder en aangemoedig kan word. Hierdie artikel maak 'n bydrae tot die begrip van die faktore wat vroue in 'n manlikgedomineerde industrie aan die rand plaas en verskaf 'n aanduiding van pogings om meer vroue tot die industrie aan te trek. Gevolglik sal die hulpbronpot vergroot gegewe die oorwegend akute vaardigheidstekort in die industrie.
ISSN: 1023-0564