Under-representation of women in the South African construction industry

J. I.C. Mbachu*, M. Folose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


There is a strong reserve of women in the labour force from which the construction industry could draw to solve the problem of skill shortage. In addition, women have unique attributes, which could be put to use in addressing some key challenges facing the construction industry. Unfortunately, there is a gross under-representation of women in the global construction industry. Besides failing to meet the statutory obligations in relation to gender equality issues, the construction industry is losing out on the unique contributions of women as a result of this under-representation. This research explores the factors underlying women under-representation in the construction industry and ways of improving women participation. The investigations were limited to the views expressed by consultants and contractors in the Gauteng Province of South Africa, who are registered with their various professional/trade associations. The descriptive survey method was used, which involved two stages of qualitative and quantitative data gathering through pilot interviews and questionnaire surveys. Data obtained from the surveys were subjected to multi-attribute analyses and Spearman rank correlation tests. Results of the investigations into the factors underlying female under-representation in the South African construction industry revealed eight significant factors, the most significant being the nature of the construction industry. This includes the long working hours, the need to work on remote sites away from home and the harshness of the site conditions. Seven effective strategies were identified for improving women participation in the construction industry; the most effective being the establishment of training and capacity building programmes targeted at women empowerment in the construction sector. Implementation of the strategies for improvement in line with the identified levels of effectiveness is recommended for improving female participation in the industry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueensland University of Technology Research Week International Conference, QUT Research Week 2005 - Conference Proceedings
EditorsA. C. Sidewell
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventQueensland University of Technology Research Week International Conference, QUT Research Week 2005 - Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Duration: 4 Jul 20058 Jul 2005


ConferenceQueensland University of Technology Research Week International Conference, QUT Research Week 2005
CityBrisbane, QLD


Dive into the research topics of 'Under-representation of women in the South African construction industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this