IHBC’s IMHO signpost: Sexism in the construction industry

Samuel Hunt, Co-Founder and CEO of MaterialsMarket.com, gives his view about sexism in the construction industry to PBC Today.

image: for illustration purposes only – Open Government Licence v3.0

…(25%) expressed that a more serious approach to sexual harassment was needed in the industry…

Samuel Hunt in PBC Today writes:

Sexism has long been an issue in the construction industry and if recent studies are anything to go by, we can assume that it is in fact worse now than it was in the past.

An annual Women in Construction study recently revealed that of the 4,200 construction workers that were surveyed, 41% of women said they had received inappropriate comments from a male colleague in the workplace, compared to 28% of women in all workplaces in 2018.

Male-dominated culture

When the report asked construction workers why they thought so many women leave the industry, almost half (47%) cited the male-dominated culture, while 30% blamed outright discrimination. While reports of sexism against women far outweigh those against men, the findings suggest that the issue is not solely one-sided, with 8% of men reporting being on the receiving end of inappropriate comments made by female colleagues….

When it comes to assessing how we can resolve these issues and bring about change, we must look to those in the industry who are reporting cases of sexism and other forms of discrimination.

When asked how we can persuade more women to stay in the construction industry, for example, the Women in Construction study found that over half of women (52%) wanted more equal opportunities, while 50% felt that flexible working hours would be a positive step forward.

Shockingly, a quarter of respondents (25%) expressed that a more serious approach to sexual harassment was needed in the industry – suggesting that many claims are still not being taken seriously.

Training on sexism and sexual harassment

Increased training on sexism, sexual harassment and other discrimination is just one way to help combat sexism in the construction industry both now and in the future….

Lack of female role models

The study, Women in Construction, revealed that 49% of female respondents felt that a lack of female role models in the industry was a factor for them being unable to progress in their field….

‘Have a thick skin’

Another issue within the construction industry is the stereotypical view that people need to have a thick skin and that they should be prepared to take the insults as banter and “just a joke” – regardless of your gender, sexual orientation or race etc….

It cannot simply be the job of those higher up to dish out punishments and take action when problems occur; employees at every level must be able to recognise sexism when it happens and call it out, while feeling supported by their company to address concerns directly.

Read more….

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