Why are so few girls choosing careers in construction?

Why are so few girls choosing careers in construction?
Senior Research Fellow, Dr Phillippa Carnemolla. Credit: Andy Roberts

A new report looks at how construction is portrayed and perceived by high-school girls as a potential career option. Dr Phillippa Carnemolla, Senior Research Fellow at UTS School of Built Environment also examined the pathways that young women are taking when they do choose to pursue a construction career.

Despite modest improvements, construction remains Australia's most male-dominated with the lowest representation of women of all industry sectors. At every stage - recruitment, retention and progression - men vastly outnumber women.

The report "Why Would I Want to do That for a Career?", was commissioned in 2018 by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) as part of a $20,000 scholarship to Dr Phillippa Carnemolla, sponsored by CULT design.

Over the one-year study, Dr Carnemolla investigated perceptions of the by examining existing research, interviewing female high students, and analysing UTS enrolment data for the Bachelor of Construction Project Management.

"In interviewing the students, it was clear that they had little knowledge of the construction industry and its potential career options," said Dr Carnemolla.

"The fact that it is a growth industry and one of Australia's three largest industries was also unknown."

None of the interviewed students could recall speaking to a successful woman with a career in construction and felt they could not visualise themselves in a construction role.

The research also revealed a lack of understanding about the diverse scope of jobs and careers that comprise the construction industry.

"One of the most revealing aspects of the research was that many girls didn't believe they would be respected or heard in the construction industry. Nor could they visualise what achievement might look like for them, or how they could make a difference." said Dr Carnemolla.

"In fact, construction was not seen as a viable or aspirational career path like law, business, medicine or engineering – despite engineering being a part of the construction industry."

While, the interviews demonstrated that few girls had a comprehensive understanding of what it means to work in construction, the research showed that females from all-girls schools were significantly more likely to choose to study construction at university.

55% of girls offered placements in the UTS Construction Project Management degree as school-leavers came from all-girls high schools – while only 9% of schools NSW are all-girls.

Professor Heather MacDonald, Head of the UTS School of Built Environment says that Dr Carnemolla's research gives valuable insight into the challenges universities face in attracting a more diverse range of students to Construction Project Management programs.

"Many don't understand the range of skills and knowledge entailed in the field, nor the significant opportunities to be part of major projects that transform the built environment," said Professor MacDonald.

"One of the key messages we hear from our industry partners is the importance of expanding the recruitment base for Construction Project Managers – not only to ensure that the industry reflects the diversity of Australian society, but also to ensure project managers bring a wide range of skills and experiences to construction in the 21st century."

As a result of her research findings, Dr Carnemolla has made recommendations that will enable NAWIC, employer groups, leading companies and broader construction networks to better engage with high school girls and to communicate the potential for a career.


Explore further

Artifacts discovery halts some work at Marine base on Guam

More information: Girls' Perceptions of the Construction Industry: Building a Picture of who isn't Interested in a Career in Construction and Why www.nawic.com.au/Web/IWD_Schol … larship_Archive.aspx
Citation: Why are so few girls choosing careers in construction? (2019, March 11) retrieved 25 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-girls-careers.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

mqr
Mar 11, 2019
I wonder how many women select careers as car mechanics? and what about wrestling?

Western countries should consider a regime of injecting testosterone since women are small girls so that they will become masculine and so they could try imitating men in many fields. Probably they should inject testosterone in women who are pregnant with girls, so that their brains change and they become more men-like. And they probably should inject estrogen in young boys so that they will feminize and play with dolls, prefer pink and develop less muscle and aggression, therefore they would be easier to manipulate, and even women could beat them up when they get upset with them.

And if any man says no to those "ideas", he is sexist!!!! because why would he reject injecting little boys with estrogen? does he hate women????

Mar 11, 2019
Wow, how non-sexist: /s
since women are small girls so that they will become masculine and so they could try immitating men in many fields
So, were you born like this or did it come upon you by degrees?

Women in STEM fields in Germany, which has a strong anti-sexist culture, succeed equally with men. They have plenty of construction engineers and managers.

The line about women "immitating[sic] men" is particularly revealing.

Next?

mqr
Mar 11, 2019
German women are not the most desirable women on the planet....

Soon, Germany will be equal to Denmark, women there will be buying semen to get pregnant. Is that the model society for you?

Feminism raised in alcoholic societies, once alcohol was made legal. Why? weak men soaked in liquor.

Mar 11, 2019
Is that your only valuation of women, whether they're good for sex?

I mean, sexist much? Just askin'

Mar 11, 2019
So, get laid much?

Again, just askin'.

Mar 11, 2019
Construction management? Is that the measure of equality, management? How about the 7-to-3, 3-to-11, 11-to-7 hard hat side, getting filthy, sweaty, freezing your ass off, "red neck" sunburn, climbing the utility poles in a blizzard, spreading hot tar in August careers? I see the occasional female standing out there holding a traffic sign but that's about it. I guess "equality" only applies to the clean, comfortable, safe white collar jobs.

Mar 11, 2019
What about the workplace safety gap?
95% of deaths in the workplace are male.

Mar 11, 2019
I think somebody constructed a glass ceiling, hence the lack of women.

https://www.every...n-women/

Mar 11, 2019
What about the workplace safety gap?
95% of deaths in the workplace are male.


Caused by irate women!

Mar 11, 2019
When all woman look like Venus Williams, then we will all be equal?

Mar 11, 2019
When all woman look like Venus Williams, then we will all be equal?


When all women look like Stevie Nicks, circa 1977, they can do what the hell they like, as far as I'm concerned! I'm not going to be complaining.

(Sorry Da Schneib :))

Mar 11, 2019
How about the 7-to-3, 3-to-11, 11-to-7 hard hat side, getting filthy, sweaty, freezing your ass off, "red neck" sunburn, climbing the utility poles in a blizzard, spreading hot tar in August careers?


That's what I was thinking. You don't get construction managers straight out of some university diploma mill - customers prefer managers with actual experience in the field, who have actually done the job at some point so they know what they're dealing with. All the construction managers I know spent years working construction sites before, during, and after they graduated as engineers and then they got promoted into managers.

And it isn't always the best social environment, because it's a last-choice job for many men as well. Women have better social safety nets, so they don't have to pick these sort of jobs just to get by - and they don't.

Mar 11, 2019
Nine out of ten women won't climb more than a few rungs up a ladder, then they get vertigo.

When I was building our house, whenever I would invite a woman up a ladder, wife included, they ALWAYS say NO, that it made them dizzy. I guess there are things men just need to do for themselves.

Mar 11, 2019
Women rejecting construction jobs...
1 - Because "nails" have a different cognitive significance for women...
2 - Construction clothing doesn't come in maternity styles...
3 - Climb a ladder? Get real... You have any idea how much she spent on those shoes!?!?

Women have demanded being "treated like a lady" for so long, being a "Rosie the Riveter" seems anathema...


Mar 11, 2019
When all woman look like Venus Williams, then we will all be equal?


When all women look like Stevie Nicks, circa 1977, they can do what the hell they like, as far as I'm concerned! I'm not going to be complaining...:-)

Not a bad choice, But I'm thinkin' Selma Hayak - circa any year she's been over 18... :-)


Mar 11, 2019
Nine out of ten women won't climb more than a few rungs up a ladder, then they get vertigo.

When I was building our house, whenever I would invite a woman up a ladder, wife included, they ALWAYS say NO, that it made them dizzy. I guess there are things men just need to do for themselves.


Idiot.

Mar 11, 2019
This is about the stupidest question I have seen here. You really really don't know why they don't get into construction? Have you met any women, bro?

Mar 11, 2019
Women rejecting construction jobs...
1 - Because "nails" have a different cognitive significance for women...
2 - Construction clothing doesn't come in maternity styles...
3 - Climb a ladder? Get real... You have any idea how much she spent on those shoes!?!?

Women have demanded being "treated like a lady" for so long, being a "Rosie the Riveter" seems anathema...

A one? C'mon - those jokes Killed at a recent open mic nite at the local comedy club...
But seriously...
Even girls will tell you it's a job requiring a LOT of physical labour - that they don't want to do...

Mar 12, 2019
Jordan B. Peterson lectures at length on the failures of forced sex egalitarianism.

Mar 12, 2019
Women could be easily part of construction industry. A project manager position for example.
Not heavy lifting, filthy , sweaty as some previous commetantors said.
All well prepared construction project manager use a reliable and efficient project management tool instead.
Fizure- Budget Tracking and Construction Management Software

Fizure helps project managers save time on managening budget, automates work completion commitments, lets you follow finances in real time and with one click send your expenses to accounting.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more