Silver Lining for UAE – More Women in Construction

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Saudi Women in Construction

It is not surprising that the construction industry has attracted fewer women and is still considered a male-dominated profession. Despite the industry’s active initiatives to recruit a wide pool of talent from the female population, the percentage of women working in the construction industry is still low. Several surveys and data reveal troubling insights; of all the 10 million people employed in the industry, only a meager 9-13% of construction workers are female. However, this figure encompasses women primarily involved in administrative and leadership positions, while the number of women working on construction sites is very less. 

This low representation of women in the construction industry is largely associated with gender bias. Although new opportunities for women in the construction sector are paving the way, research worldwide reveals that women entering the industry are met with gender-related challenges, lack of adequate resources, and social perceptions. Besides these, there are other challenges typical to women’s construction, such as injury risk, pay gap, and lack of mentorship. 

*Women in construction earn less than their male counterparts. Construction companies need to meticulously address the pay gap issue by emphasizing more on equal pay policies. 

* Most construction protection equipment is still not women-friendly and is designed with men in mind. Fragile and poorly done equipment increases the chances of women being injured on the field. 

* Lack of female leaders in the construction field poses a threat to women from advancing in the field or even making a career choice in the construction industry. 

As the construction industry continues to grapple with challenges like gender bias and discrimination, the KSA construction industry witnesses a silver lining: the entry of women in the sectorIn what can be called a piece of good news for women in the construction sector is that the KSA construction industry has identified the importance of involving women in the kingdom’s construction sector and has made progress in supporting and empowering them. Almost a decade ago, construction jobs were deemed unfit for women in Saudi Arabia. But, the Saudi Contractors’ Authority (SCA) confirmed that there had been a drastic increase in the number of women working in the construction sector. (As of July 2019, 152,000 Saudi women were recruited in construction). 

In the recent Leaders KSA 2020 Virtual Summit, eminent panels have discussed the ‘Future of Construction,’ aiming to increase women’s participation from 17% to 25% by 2030. Discussing women’s involvement, the panels have highlighted the importance of making the construction industry a far more accepting and welcoming place for women. Here is a statement made by one of the panelists that surely comes as a ray of hope: 

“Across the world, women’s participation in construction is a little over 10%, which isn’t that great. But, in the Middle East, it is growing.”

There is a growing space for women entering the field, and Saudi Arabia is taking massive steps to introduce changes that would benefit women. 

There are massive advantages to women joining construction. We would discuss these benefits in detail in our next article.

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