English: 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